(Questions) Nelia is my first cousin (the daughter of my mom's brother). I like her and am trying with the idea of marrying her. I was told that I cannot marry her because she is my first cousin. Is this prohibition only social or is it also legal??
The law which speak against the marrying by a person of his first cousin is Article 38 of the Family Code of the Philippines. It says that marriage "between collateral blood relatives, whether legitimate or illegitimate, up to the fourth civil degree" is "void from the beginning fro reason of public policy."
first cousin - is an ordinary social term everyone understand which, legally speaking, refers to, or is described as, a "collateral blood relatives in the fourth civil degree.
A fourth ( third, second or first) civil degree relatives is one is removed from a person by four (three, two, or one) relationship, immediate and connected traceable through the common ancestor. The illustration below clearly show that your first cousin is your fourth degree relatives.
(Common Ancestor) grand parents
(Second degree) Mom or Dad (third degree) Uncle or Aunt
(First degree) you (fourth degree) first cousin
Between you and Nelia who are first cousins, the four immediate relationship which are linked one after another are as follow:
(1) you and your mom, (2) your mom and her parents, (3) your mom's parents and your uncle, who is Nelia's dad, and (4) Nelias's dad and her
Your mom is your first civil degree relatives, while your grandparents, your uncle, and Nelia are your relatives in the second, third, and fourth civil degree, respectively.
Under the old Law, marriage of first cousin was void because it was "incestuous." Under the present Law it is void "by reason of public policy" Public policy is that principle which hold that no person can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or common good, or to social interest. Thus, what is perceived as the social forbid-dance for marriage of first cousin appears to be the basis for its prohibition under the law.
So.. marrying Nelia? stop trying with the idea..