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Illegal marriages in Costa Rica: the case of relatives

Article 14 of the Family Code stipulates which marriages are illegal under Costa Rican law. A few years ago, that same article established the prohibition of same-sex marriage, a rule that fortunately was annulled by the Constitutional Chamber. In this blog we will comment on some cases of prohibition of marriage when it comes to relatives.

Marriage between ascendants and descendants by consanguinity or affinity, between blood siblings and between adoptive families is legally impossible under Costa Rican law. Regarding this last case, the law specifies several scenarios: between the adopter and the adopted person and her descendants; adopted sons and daughters of the same person; the adopted person and the sons and daughters of the adopter; the adopted person and the adopter’s former spouse, and the adopter and the adopter’s former spouse. In all these cases, the marriage can be annulled ex officio, so the Registry Authority itself can annul it on its own motion.

The Family Code does not prohibit marriage between other relatives as is the case of marriage between first cousins ​​(in this case they are relatives in the fourth degree) or more distant relatives. In these cases, the marriage is legally possible and therefore this would not be an impediment for the Notary to celebrate the marriage.

At CELIG we provide specialized services to the LGBTQI+ community. If you want more information or make an appointment with us, call us at 4800-0248 or write to us at

We are located in San José, Barrio Escalante.

M.Sc. Ana Isabel Sibaja Rojas

CELIG – Center for Equal Litigation