Incestuous Marriages

An incestuous marriage is a marriage between close family members. The validity of an incestuous marriage depends on the law of the state where the parties intend to reside. In the state where the incestuous marriage is regarded as a crime, the incestuous marriage is not accepted for immigration purposes even if the marriage was legally contracted somewhere else.

Incestuous marriages are marriage between the following:

  • a parent and a child,
  • a grandparent and a grandchild,
  • a bother and a sister (either half blood or whole blood),
  • an uncle and a niece (either half blood or whole blood),
  • an aunt and a nephew (either half blood or whole blood), and
  • first cousins (either half or whole blood).

Whether incestuous marriages are void or voidable in the United States depends on local statutes and their interpretation. A court may annul an incestuous marriage at the request of either party to the marriage even though the applicant may have knowingly entered the marriage arrangement. However, courts of one state cannot, at the suit of either party, annul a marriage that was valid under the laws of another state on the ground that the marriage is contrary to domicile state’s laws regarding blood relationship marriages.