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eflo56

Arizona Marriage Laws

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Can you marry your half cousin in the state of Arizona, by half cousin I mean our mothers are half sisters, making their children (us) half cousins. Can you marry your half cousin in the state of Arizona without any restrictions?

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I think you would have to find out their definition of a cousin. Genetically, you are only halfway towards being a cousin. Legally, they could define cousins any way they like.

Technically, cousins share a set of grandparents. You do not. Personally, I would just get married in California and have a nice honeymoon in Malibu. The reason I suggest that is because of AZ's criminal portion of the law, which classifies cousin couples as a felons. So you need to be 110 percent sure, or marry in CA.

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Well that is the thing! Lol. I recently emailed a few attorneys in Ill asking a similar question. The one attorney that responded stated that she didn't know! She was a family law attorney!

So, you can't be sure unless someone challenges the law and it hits the appellate courts. A judge's decision would be, in the words of George W, "the decider."

When I get some time I will see if I can find any "case laws" in your state. Give me a day or so.

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So far every source on the internet that I've looked at regarding half cousin marriages says yes and has no restrictions that I can see but I just want to be absolutely sure. I love my half cousin and I want to be able to marry her in Arizona.

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I would make an appointment with a professor of family law and talk to him or her.

http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/faculty_directory.cfm

Look for some like this one: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/facultyprofile.cfm?facultyid=11  (a family law attorney)

Surely can you get correct advice from one of these. Call and email and hound them lol

Otherwise, marry in CA.

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I emailed an expert in family law on just ask.com and they said it's ok they gave me the statute number 9-11-106 I had to pay for it but it's worth it I needed to know. She said there are no restrictions only for full blooded cousins. Should I take anymore precautions?

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We are talking about Arizona, right?  The real trick is knowing whether "half-cousins" and "first cousins" are the same thing in Arizona.  As KC points out, there is no case law specific to this question.  However, I would be surprised if such a question came to trial and the state decided that "half-cousin" meets the legal definition of "first cousin" (which is not actually defined in state law, leaving a judge to rely on a "common" interpretation, which means whatever he wants it to mean).

KC also points out correctly that you should be concerned about Arizona's criminal statute, which makes sex between first cousins in Arizona a Class 4 felony.

As for getting married in another state (CA, CO, etc.) and moving to Arizona, there does in fact exist a case history in Arizona that you should give very serious thought toward.  Specifically, IF your marriage were considered "incestuous and void" as being "first cousins", it would be held so even if entered legally in another state.  In the particular case I am thinking about, a couple who legally married in another state and then moved to Arizona did so before AZ added the "void" clause.  The couple headed for divorce court and the husband argued that (after the void clause was in effect) normal divorce laws did not apply because they were first cousins and therefore the marriage should be considered void from its beginning.

The Arizona Supreme Court held that, had their marriage occurred after the void clause or had they moved to Arizona AFTER the void clause was added, the husband would have a case for declaring his marriage void because it would indeed be void.  However, because they were legally married in another state and moved to Arizona at a time when an out-of-state marriage would be considered valid and remained in Arizona, their marriage was valid (grandfathered because the legislature did not specifically void any existing marriages).

In the ruling, the court made it clear that any out-of-state marriage, legal or not, would be considered void in Arizona if that couple were to move there AFTER the void clause was added to the law.  It then follows that not only would the marriage be void but any evidence of sex between the couple could be prosecuted as incest under the criminal code.

It is my personal opinion that if the state tried on its own to prosecute such a case, it could go to the US Supreme Court on 14th amendment grounds for equal protection because the state would have to show a compelling interest in preventing or voiding first cousin marriages and I do not believe it can do so.  However, it is also my opinion that no couple in their right mind would seek to take that challenge unless forced.

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