Cousin Marriage Laws are laws that regulate whether or not cousins can get married to one another. In most case, the word "cousin" refers to first cousins; usually the law will specify if they are referring to other terms such as first cousins once removed or second cousins. Cousin marriage laws are sometimes closely related to incest laws and other types of sex crime laws.
Currently, several states prohibit marriages between first cousins. These states are: Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Some states have additional restrictions or details regarding their cousin marriage laws. For instance, Arizona allows cousin marriages, but only if at least one spouse is unable to reproduce. In Maine, cousin marriages or relations may be considered a civil violation punishable by a slight fee. So, the legality of cousin marriages varies widely from state to state.
In addition to marriage rules, some states also prohibit any sexual relations or cohabitation between cousins for relationship purposes.
Again, this depends on the state. For instance, some states such as Arizona, Illinois, and others consider out-of-state cousin marriages to be void. Other states like California, Florida, and many others do not void out-of-state cousin marriages.
Lastly, cousin marriage laws can also get quite technical. For example, some states make many distinctions between types of cousins as well as half-cousins and adopted cousins. A general rule of thumb is that the more distant the blood relationship is between the parties, the more likely it is that states will allow a marriage to occur between them.
Cousin marriage laws can be some of the most diversified laws. They vary widely from place to place and are also subject to frequent revision and updating. You may need to hire a family lawyer if you need help or assistance with any of the laws in your area. Your attorney can provide you with representation and advise you on your rights.
Last Modified: 06-26-2014 04:47 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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