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Guest CousinLove4ever

Where and how can cousins get married in the USA?

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Hi,

My first cousin and I have been dating for a little over two years, and we really want to get married. But we've kept our dating secret from our families. And kinda open about it to some of our friends, but mostly secret. Where could we get married in the USA? Do you have to keep his last name when you marry? (we have the same last name) Any advice on how to tell our families? Is it possible to have a "normal" life in today's society if we marry? Thank you so much for your help and advice! We really want this, but with this whole cousin thing we're not sure what to do.

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CousinLove4ever,

You haven't joined, therefore don't have a profile with a location listed. As a mod, I can have a little peek and see however. I do it for the exact reason of your query. You don't mention your location, so, I won't either. If the look-up is right, you are in what we consider one of the "friendly" States for cousin couples. You can marry there. Just to be sure, do check this page: http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=states  If I'm right, you should see a BIG ole patch of green in your little corner of the world. Green means GO!!!! Legally, you are allowed to marry. Why would you not keep his last name? You already have it, so, no issues with changing it and the bureaucracy involved with that. All you would do is change your status from single to married on future forms, and, things such as Social Security and banking info, W-4's where you work, such as that.

As to family, your guess is probably better than ours. The reaction varies from total high-speed come-aparts, to (yawn) "Isn't that nice". It will usually fall somewhere in between. Some won't have a problem with it, others may disown you. I'll tell you this. They can tell you what they think about it, but, ultimately, YOU make you happy. They get to make them happy. You will never be totally happy, or true to yourself, living life to make everyone else happy. You get your shot at making you happy. They'll get over it, or they'll get under it when that train leaves the station.....

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Thank you SO much for your input! :) We're both in our twenties, and we both live in Utah. If we were to get a marriage license/or married out of Utah in one of the green states how would that work? Or do we have to live in the green state? Thanks, again!

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CousinLove4ever,

Well, now that you mentioned where you live, this is an instance where my look-up was wrong. It showed you as being in California. SO, being in Utah, it is quite a different matter. Occasionally, the look-up is wrong. For many on, (IIRC...) Verizon wireless, no matter where they are, they show as being just outside of Wichita, Kansas. No idea why, other than they must have a huge wireless server to hard wire/fiber optic there or something. Anywho, lets see if we can help you, shall we?

First, we are NOT lawyers, and do NOT give legal advice. That being said, as a rule, we can wade through the legalese, and usually boil it down to the kitchen table. So, let's try. In Utah, sexual relations between first cousins is a third degree felony. The BEST advice, IMHO, is, to leave Utah. As in, ASAP. I know that sounds easy, and is over simplistic perhaps, but it IS your best option. If you were in your 50s, the advice would be much different. I MIGHT would recommend you wait it out until you were both over 55, get the required doctors affidavit, and then proceed. But, you aren't, so, THAT is moot. Our page I listed shows States where first cousins can marry in green. It shows States where they cannot in red. It shows States where, (as in Utah, and my home State of Illinois) under certain circumstances and provisions, they may. MOST of the yellow States only require an affidavit from a doctor that one of the parties is sterile. Unfortunately for you, Utah also adds an age requirement to that exemption. You aren't going to be able to hide this for another 30 years, trust me. I'm surprised you've managed 2 years already. I doubt Utah would pursue you as vigorously as say Wisconsin would, but, YOU TWO don't want to be the crash test dummies that test that. You would be well advised to tread very lightly until such time as you can find other digs. Depending on where you are in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are your closest options. I suppose either is as good as the other. It would depend on your assessment of the employment options, tolerance to different weather perhaps, friends/family who would be a support system (or hindrance), and other considerations such as that. I WOULD start weighing my options, and the sooner the better.

One of our Admins, Colorado Married is (duh, obviously) pretty partial to Colorado. He is also quite good at discerning the more intricate details of the law. He personally would not be afraid to challenge the law, having been duly and legally married in Colorado, in ANY State. I seriously doubt you two at this early stage and in your situation would care to be so bold. The only other thing I don't really have time to dig into is, if you may go to another State where it IS legal, get married, then return to Utah. SOME of the States shown in red have clauses allowing it, some have clauses NOT allowing it, and a handful have clauses allowing it, provided you didn't specifically travel to another "green" State solely to avoid the law. I really don't have time to dig into it for you, but, feel free to dig for yourselves. Google " Utah Marriage Statutes" and see what pops up. There will be a link there somewhere that will show the whole statute and not just this: http://www.cousincouples.com/info/statelaws.htm#UT Read it carefully. It seems daunting at first, but, once you get use to legalese, it's really only just dry, not so intimidating. So, be well rested, and have a tall glass of water, and dig in. I will keep an eye on this thread to see if you find anything, and if not, if I can find it. I'm sure I can, it's just that spare time is at a premium for me at the moment. But, if I can find it, you can too. Colorado Married is a very busy boy too, but, perhaps he will pop in, see this, and add his two bits.       

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Hey!! I'm from Utah and I married my first cousin. We didn't get married in Utah because of the stupid law full of blah blah especially for our age. It might be a bit more difficult for you guys since you are in your 20's and child bearing age. If you want to talk let me know. I would love to go into more detail with you.

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It's so good to hear that there are other cousins married in Utah!! I would love to hear your stories! Thank you for your help, also. :)

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I just registered yesterday and am not able to private message yet, but will be doing so soon. I am so happy to see other cousin couples in Utah. I have yet to share may story , but will soon.....

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