What is the World is Consanguinity and Affinity?

Consanguinity comes from a Latin word “consanguinitas” and meaning “blood relation.” In English is just means your blood relatives.  That would be your mother or father or your children.  There is also what is referred to as “affinity” which in layman’s terms it is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. That is your relatives that are not a blood relation.  Your spouse, your in-laws, your aunt or uncle by marriage are all examples of non-blood relations. In even simpler terms, they both refer to your relatives.

In family law consanguinity and affinity are very important terms when it comes to Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (“DVRO”).  Under California law, in order to obtain a domestic violence the party seeking protection and the party to be restrained must 1) be married or formerly married, 2) in a current or past dating relationship, 3) be current or former cohabitants, 4) be the parents of a child or the child themselves, or 5) be any “other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.” Family Code §6211.

Consanguinity within the first and second degree includes all of the following:

  1. Children;
  2. Step-Child
  3. Spouse
  4. Son/Daughter-in-law
  5. Grandchildren;
  6. Parent
  7. Parent-in-law
  8. Step-Parent
  9. Brother/Sisters
  10. Step Brother/Sister
  11. Grandparents
  12. Step-Grandparents

So for example, if you are involved in a domestic violence restraining order with your son-in-law, then the Family Court is the appropriate court to file a domestic violence restraining order.  However, if the same situation were to occur, but you replaced the son-in-law with your Uncle, then you would not have consanguinity of the second degree (Aunts and Uncles are third degree), so you could not file a domestic violence restraining order in Family Court in California. Click here for a great reference tool to determine degrees of familial relations.

If there is not consanguinity or affinity, it does not mean you are out of luck, it just means you will need to file a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.  It is very similar to a Domestic Violence Restraining order, but there are subtle differences.

Restraining orders are serious and should only be used when they are absolutely necessary. They are also an important tool for preventing domestic violence. When the situation arises that you must obtain a restraining order it is important that you speak with a qualified family law attorney to ensure you qualify to file in Family Court.  Filing in the wrong court could lead to your request being denied and delay obtaining an order protecting you and your children.  You should always speak with a qualified family law attorney before you file a restraining order to make sure you understand your rights.

Feel free to contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding domestic violence restraining orders. Nancy J. Bickford is the only Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.


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