can relatives get married in NC

Can relatives get married in North Carolina? This seems like an odd question, and something that most people probably don’t spend much time thinking about. However, the answer is yes, relatives can get married in North Carolina. This blog provides some context for that answer.

Which relatives can get married?

Any relatives of a lesser degree of kinship than that of double first cousins are permitted to get married freely and annulment would not be available to such married family members. This means that North Carolina does not prohibit or restrict marriages between first cousins.

Please note that, technically, any relatives would be able to get married, however, certain marriages between close degrees of kinship would be voidable (see below).

Void versus Voidable Marriage

In North Carolina, a void marriage is a marriage that is not recognized. The only void marriage in North Carolina is a bigamous marriage. Note also that bigamy is illegal in North Carolina and is punished as a Class I felony. Click here to learn more.

There are some marriages that are voidable, meaning they could be annulled under certain circumstances. One such marriage is a marriage of between relatives of equal or greater kinship as double first cousins or aunt/nephew. Such marriages would be voidable. However, until and unless someone took action to annul the marriage, a marriage between such relatives would be recognized in North Carolina.

A Note About Annulments and Voidable Marriages

In North Carolina, annulments are exceedingly rare. Only voidable marriages are eligible for annulment. The following marriages are voidable, and therefore, are the only marriages eligible for annulment:

  • A party to the marriage is underage (under 16 or under 18 if the marriage was procured by fraud);
  • A party to the marriage lacks of mental capacity to marry;
  • A party to the marriage has a degree of kinship nearer than first cousins (including double first cousins);
  • A party to the marriage is physically impotent; or
  • A party to the marriage misrepresents pregnancy

If you are in need of a family law attorney, contact us to set up a consultation with a family law attorney. We practice family law in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.

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