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dating your second cousin legal-79

My first cousin and I lived on opposite sides of the country during childhood and never met until we were in our late teens.

Since that time we've developed strong feelings for one another and have even begun to talk about marriage. How distant from the family line does a relative need to be in order to qualify as a potential spouse? As you're apparently aware, you've touched upon a controversial issue.

Whatever you decide, you can be pretty sure of one thing: your choice in the state where you reside.

Approximately half of the states permit first cousin marriage either without restrictions or under certain specified circumstances; in all others it is against the law.

If you feel it would be helpful to discuss your situation with a member of our staff, Focus on the Family has a team of professional counselors available who would be happy to speak with you over the phone.

They can also provide you with referrals to qualified therapists practicing in your area.

Family reunions are often filled with confused people scratching their heads, ticking off fingers and mumbling, "If my mother's aunt was her father's grandmother, then that makes us…" If you can't keep your third cousins and your first cousins twice removed straight, you are not alone.

But there's a simple way to figure out the relationships between relations.

In most cases, the state laws in question were originally based upon data indicating a high incidence of birth defects in children of first cousins or closer relatives. It's true that more recent studies have demonstrated that this risk is not as high as previously thought.

Nevertheless, it remains a factor that merits serious consideration.

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