Quality, Responsive and Trustworthy Legal Services
We offer clients a strong work ethic combined with prompt and personalized client care.

Too Close For Comfort:

The Legal Consequences of Incest

Criminal Law Consequences

As it must, the law addresses nearly everything, even the most unpleasant of things. The criminal law in North Carolina creates the definition of incest as the act of intercourse with a grandparent or grandchild, parent or child or stepchild or legally adopted child, brother or sister of the half or whole blood, or uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece. Incest is a felony, although no “child under the age of 16 is liable . . .  if the other person is at least four years older when the incest occurred.” NC Gen. Stat. §14-178.

Civil Law Consequences

In the event a pregnant minor seeks an abortion, she does not need parental consent if she has been raped or is a victim of “felonious incest.” NC Gen. Stat. §90-21.8.  Similarly, victims of incest are given exceptions to the state law that prohibits state funds being used to perform abortions.  NC Gen. Stat. §143C-6-5.5.  A parent filing a name change for his or her child must have the consent of the parent.  But, if the other parent is convicted of incest, his or her consent is not required.  NC Gen. Stat. §101-2.

You can marry your first cousin and share the same grandparents.  On the other hand, a marriage between family members are “nearer of kin than first cousins, or between double first cousins . . . shall be void.”  NC Gen. Stat. §51-3.  A good definition of double first cousins is from a blog writer* who defines it as follows:

“‘Double first cousins’ arise when two siblings of one family reproduce with two siblings of another family. The resulting children are related to each other through both parents’ families. Double first cousins share both sets of grandparents in common and have double the degree of consanguinity of ordinary first cousins. Genetically, they are as related as half-siblings.”

What About Child Custody?

It appears our state has no specific statutes or appellate cases that create any special rules for determining who shall be awarded child custody when the child is born of an incestuous relationship. But none are really necessary because the court always has the power to address all custody cases. Child Protective Services also has the right to file a lawsuit for children who are abused or neglected. In all cases, if a child is born as a result of the rape, the man who committed the rape cannot file a claim for child visitation or custody.  NC Gen. Stat. §50-13.1.

* See a diagram and post from “hbd chick” at this blog:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email