Exploring the Types of Marriages Prohibited by Law

Family Law
Exploring the Types of Marriages Prohibited by Law
February 13, 2024
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Marriage, a legally recognized union between two individuals, is a significant life event that comes with numerous legal benefits, rights, and responsibilities. However, not all marriages are legally permissible. Various jurisdictions have established laws that define which types of marriages are prohibited. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of marriages that are not allowed by law, touching on the reasons behind these prohibitions and the implications for individuals involved.


Marriage laws vary significantly around the world and even within countries, reflecting cultural, religious, and societal norms. While the majority of marriages are between two consenting adults who are not closely related to each other, there are specific restrictions placed on who can marry whom. These laws are designed to protect individuals, promote social order, and prevent exploitation or harm. Pinkston Law Group, P.C., with its deep understanding of family law, sheds light on these prohibited marriages to ensure individuals are fully informed about their legal rights and obligations.

Polygamous Marriages

Polygamy involves being married to more than one person at the same time. Most jurisdictions prohibit polygamous marriages due to legal, social, and moral reasons. These laws are intended to prevent familial conflict, protect inheritance rights, and uphold social norms about marriage.

Incestuous Marriages

Incestuous marriages, or marriages between close relatives, are universally prohibited. The definition of what constitutes a “close relative” can vary, but typically includes parents, children, siblings, and sometimes first cousins. These prohibitions are based on moral, social, and genetic concerns, as marriages between close relatives increase the risk of genetic disorders in offspring.

Child Marriages

Child marriage, defined as a marriage where one or both parties are under the age of 18, is prohibited in many jurisdictions. These laws aim to protect children from exploitation and abuse, ensuring they have the opportunity to mature and consent fully to marriage. However, some jurisdictions allow child marriages under certain conditions, such as parental consent or judicial approval.

Marriages of Convenience

Marriages of convenience, which are entered into for reasons other than love or personal commitment (e.g., to gain citizenship), are considered fraudulent and are prohibited by law. These marriages are seen as an abuse of legal systems designed to regulate immigration and residency.

Forced Marriages

Forced marriages, where one or both parties do not consent to the marriage, are illegal and considered a violation of human rights. Laws against forced marriages aim to protect individual freedom and ensure that marriage is a consensual union between two individuals.

Marriages to Non-Humans

Though it might seem obvious, laws explicitly prohibit marriages between humans and non-humans (animals or inanimate objects). These prohibitions reflect societal norms and legal definitions of marriage as a union between two consenting human beings.

Implications and Legal Consequences

Engaging in a prohibited marriage can have significant legal consequences, including the nullification of the marriage, legal penalties, and the inability to access legal benefits associated with marriage. Individuals in prohibited marriages may also face social stigma and legal challenges related to parental rights, inheritance, and immigration status.


Understanding the types of marriages prohibited by law is crucial for individuals planning to marry. These laws, while varying widely across different jurisdictions, share common goals: protecting individuals, maintaining social order, and preventing exploitation. Pinkston Law Group, P.C., with its expertise in family law, stands ready to provide guidance and legal assistance to individuals navigating the complexities of marriage laws. Whether you’re seeking to understand your legal rights or need assistance with a family law matter, our team is here to help ensure your actions are in compliance with the law and your rights are fully protected.

About Pinkston Law Group, P.C.

Pinkston Law Group, P.C., is a law firm specializing in family law, personal injury, and civil litigation. With a commitment to providing compassionate and comprehensive legal services, our team is dedicated to helping clients navigate the complexities of the legal system. Whether you’re facing a family law issue, have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, or need legal representation in a civil matter, Pinkston Law Group, P.C., is here to support you every step of the way.

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