Can you marry your half niece?

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In this blog we will answer the question “Can you marry your half niece?”

We will also look into what family members you are permitted to carry and which family members you are not allowed to marry legally. 

Can you marry your half niece?

Legally, you can marry your half niece provided that you are both consenting adults and have at no point in the life of the younger individual lived under the same roof or shared an “uncle-neice” or “Guardian-child” relationship. 

A half niece refers to someone who is the daughter of your half-sibling. While the law does not permit Uncles and nieces who share 25% or more of shared DNA to legally marry, laws in most countries do not specify for half-nieces/nephews and uncles. 

In most cases, it is likely that the marriage between a half-niece and an uncle will be permitted because the degree of relation is borderline on 4th degree and they do not share more than 12.5% DNA- this makes it unlikely that a union will be prohibited. 

However, it is advised that you seek out legal conditions to discuss your circumstance and the relationship itself. Most courts will provide authorization for the union provided that:

  • Both parties are consenting adults above the age of 21
  • The younger party has not lived with the older party at any point in time before the age of 18
  • The two parties have not shared any familial relationship at any point of their lives. 

It is most likely that if these conditions are met, the marriage will be recognised under a civil agreement however it cannot be said if religious institutions will recognise this marriage or not. 

While it is legally permitted, the couple might face backlash from religious communities who do not agree with the union wholly on religious and moral grounds or from the society they live in, if they are not accepting of the idea. 

What is a marriage between uncle and niece called?

The union or marriage between an uncle and a niece or person with  a parent’s sibling or with one’s sibling’s child—i.e., between an uncle or aunt and their niece or nephew- is known as an Avunculate marriage.

Avunculate marriages were once frequent among the royal houses of Europe in the past, and also in other Catholic countries where such marriages were allowed. However, in more recent years, it is considered illegal in most countries and frowned upon in most cultures. 

This kind of marriage involves two biological relatives that have 25% or more shared DNA and is considered illegal in most states and countries because of the risk of biological defects in the offspring as well as because it is considered morally and ethically wrong in the face of most legislations. 

However, in some countries and cultures, avunculate marriages between such biological relatives-between an uncle or aunt and their niece or nephew- are both legal and common perhaps a little less common now. 

Avunculate marriage between an uncle or aunt and their niece or nephew is permitted in the following countries:Norway, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Finland, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Germany and Russia. 

In the United states it is generally considered illegal however in some circumstances it is permitted and legal in two states- New York and Rhode Island. This kind of union and marriage is not permitted in New Zealand, or the United Kingdom. 

In New York, in 2014, a marriage between a woman and her mother’s half-brother was upheld and considered legitimate and recognised by the New York Court of Appeals. While in Rhode Island there is an exception for  “kindred marriages” for Jewish marriages.

What family members can you NOT marry?

Here is a list of family members you cannot marry legally in the UK and the US. 

In the United Kingdom

According to Jessica Lindsey for Metro, you are not allowed to marry the following family members in the UK:

  • Mother
  • Father
  • Son including your step or adopted son
  • Daughter including your step or adopted daughter
  • Brother, including half-siblings.
  • Sister, including half-siblings.
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Uncles or aunties, including a half-uncle or half-aunt.
  • Nieces or nephews, including your half niece or nephews.

Based on this list, you are not legally allowed to marry family members with whom you have 25 percent of shared DN or someone who is related to you by the 4th Degree or less. 

According to the  Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986, a citizen of the UK is prohibited from marrying the following persons:

Blood relatives

This includes marriages between siblings and between a parent and child. The law also prohibits the union between half siblings as well as between parent and child. 

Marriages between grand parent- grand child is also prohibited in the UK as well as marriages between Uncles/Aunts- Niece/Nephews. 

Adopted children

Marriage between children who have been adopted by another family cannot legally marry their own biological parents, siblings, and grandparents- even if they are unaware of their genetic relationships; upon finding out, the marriage will be considered null or void. 

Adopted children and adoptive parents are also prohibited from getting married meaning that if the child has at anypoint lived with the parent or been considered their child, they will not be permitted to marry. 

Step relatives

Step relatives are generally not permitted to marry in most cases, step siblings who have lived together at any point of their young lives before the age of 18 and have shared a family relationship are not permitted to marry by law. 

However, they will be permitted to have a civil union if:

  • Both parties are 21 or above the age of 21
  • They have not shared any sibling relationship at any point
  • They younger has not been treated as the child of the older person’s family
  • They have not lived together at any point in time before the age of 18 of the younger individual. 

These marriages may usually only take place during a civil ceremony, under licence and often require authorisation by the court of law to be recognised as a union. It is unlikely that the church will solemnise the union.

In the United States

In the United States, the family members you can and cannot marry depends on where you live or which state you live in. 

Over all, family members are discouraged from marrying each other because of biological and social implications and it is often frowned upon even if it is legally permissible. 

The United States law permits family members who share less than 25% of DNA to be married. This means that family members such as first cousins and following might be permitted to marry in some states since they share 12.6% DNA. 

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states allow for cousins to get married. These states include: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina (in North Carolina, first-cousin marriage is legal, but double-cousin marriage is prohibited), Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia- under special circumstances. 

Thus in the United states you are legally prohibited from marrying the following family members:

  • Siblings 
  • Between a parent and child.
  • Half siblings 
  • Grand parent- grand child
  • Uncles/Aunts- Niece/Nephews. 

In some states in the US, though it is not legal to be in incetuous relationships with family members, there are some states where incestual relationships between two consenting siblings is not illegal. 

These states include:

  • Ohio
  • New Jersey 
  • Rhode Island
  • Georgia.

Incest laws prohibited intimate relationships between blood relatives or biological family members. 

In almost all states, except for New Jersey, Rhode Island, ohio and Georgia,  incest is illegal. Even for the states of New Jersey and Rhode Island, marriage between family members is not legalised

For states like Georgua and Ohio, the incest must be between two heterosexual consenting adults who are not sharing a parentchild relationship. 

In the majority of states in the United States, incest is illegal and there are punishments associated with engaging in an incestuous relationshis which vary according to state. 

In the states of New Jersey and Rhode Island, incest between two consenting adults or people beyong the age of consent, is legal. However, neither state permits marriage. 

In Georgia, incest laws are limited to heterosexual intimate relationships that are not parent to child relationships. It also deemed marriage and cohabitation illegal. 

In Ohio, incest is legally allowed provided that one party is not a parental figure to the other party and both are consenting and adults. 

Conclusion

In this blog we will answer the question “Can you marry your half niece?”

We will also look into what family members you are permitted to carry and which family members you are not allowed to marry legally. 

FAQ related to Can you marry your half niece?

Can a half uncle marry his niece?

Legally, you can marry your half niece provided that you are both consenting adults and have at no point in the life of the younger individual lived under the same roof or shared an “uncle-neice” or “Guardian-child” relationship. 

Is there such a thing as a half niece?

Yes. there is. A half niece refers to someone who is the daughter of your half-sibling.

Can you marry a half aunt?

Legally, you can marry your half aunt provided that you are both consenting adults and have at no point in the life of the younger individual lived under the same roof or shared an “Guardian-child” relationship. 

Is marrying your niece legal?

Marrying your niece is illegal in most countries and states since this kind of marriage involves two biological relatives that have 25% or more shared DNA with only 3rd degree affinity. 

Avunculate marriages- marriage between uncle-niece were once frequent among the royal houses of Europe in the past, and also in other Catholic countries where such marriages were allowed. However, in more recent years, it is considered illegal in most countries and frowned upon in most cultures. 

References 

Ford.J. Can you marry your half niece? Answer To All. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://answerstoall.com/users-questions/can-you-marry-your-half-niece/

Mince-Didier. A. Incest Laws and Criminal Charges. Criminaldefenselawyer. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/white-collar-crime/incest-laws-criminal-charges.htm

Incest Laws by State 2021. Worldpopulationreview. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/incest-laws-by-state

Lindsey.J. Can you marry your cousin in the UK? Which family members is it illegal to marry? Metro. Retrieved on March 14th 2022. https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/01/can-marry-cousin-uk-family-members-illegal-marry-7785320/#:~:text=Here%20in%20 Britain%20 it’s%20 actually,haven’t%20come%20 under%20 fire.

Marriage (Prohibited Degrees of Relationship) Act 1986. Legislation.UK. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/16

Keeping Marriage in the Family. Oprah. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://www.oprah.com/relationships/keeping-marriage-in-the-family

The law on getting married. My Lawyer. Retrieved on 14th March 2022. https://www.mylawyer.co.uk/the-law-on-getting-married-a-A76051D76350/#link7

Can you marry a second cousin? What about a first cousin or half sibling? Tech Interactive. Retrieved on 14th March 2022.https://www.thetech.org/ask-a-geneticist/can-you-marry-cousin

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