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The relationship that a person has to the blood relatives of a spouse by virtue of the marriage.

The doctrine of affinity developed from a Maxim of Canon Law that a Husband and Wife were made one by their marriage. There are three types of affinity. Direct affinity exists between the husband and his wife's relations by blood, or between the wife and the husband's relations by blood. Secondary affinity is between a spouse and the other spouse's relatives by marriage. Collateral affinity exists between a spouse and the relatives of the other spouse's relatives. The determination of affinity is important in various legal matters, such as deciding whether to prosecute a person for Incest or whether to disqualify a juror for bias.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the relationship or connection between one spouse and the blood relatives of the other. See CONSANGUINITY.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

AFFINITY. A connexion formed by marriage, which places the husband in the same degree of nominal propinquity to the relations of the wife, as that in which she herself stands towards them, and gives to the wife the same reciprocal connexion with the relations of the husband. It is used in contradistinction to consanguinity. (q.v.) It is no real kindred.
     2. Affinity or alliance is very different from kindred. Kindred are relations. by blood; affinity is the tie which exists between one of the spouses with the kindred of the other; thus, the relations, of my wife, her brothers, her sisters, her uncles, are allied to me by affinity, and my brothers, sisters, &c., are allied in the same way to my wife. But my brother and the sister of my wife are not allied by the ties of affinity: This will appear by the following paradigms

     My wife's father ---|
     | |
     | |
     -----------------| |
     | | |-- are all allied to me. Ego ----- My Wife My wife's sister ---|
     | |
     My wife's niece ---|
     My wife's father ---|
     My Father | | |My brother
     | | | |and my wife's
     | | | |sister are
    |---------------| |----------| |not allied
    | | | | |to each other My brother Ego ---- My wife, My wife's sister |

     3. A person cannot, by legal succession, receive an inheritance from a relation by affinity; neither does it extend to the nearest relations of husband and wife, so as to create a mutual relation between them. The degrees of affinity are computed in the same way as those of consanguinity. See Pothier, Traite du Mariage, part 3, ch. 3, art. 2, and see 5 M. R. 296; Inst. 1, 10, 6; Dig. 38, 10, 4, 3; 1 Phillim. R. 210; S. C. 1 Eng. Eccl. R. 72; article Marriage.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
(49) Many families have their own kinship or kindred network that includes consanguineal as well as affinal relatives.
This section suggests that despite the fact women continued to be homemakers, the division of household work changed among the younger and older generations in both natal and affinal homes, and women's employment outside of the home was increasingly accepted by their parents, husbands and in-laws.
Burch also notes that all persons to whom either a consanguine or affinal relationship (or both) can be traced are considered "family." BURCH, supra note 61, at 49.
This encloses the affinal circle around herself, in essence building a closed structure wherein she can interact successfully to elicit the accolades and power she needs.
Pour la premiere fois, le modele lai'que et hereditaire de la famille ("the consanguinal or ancestral family") se voit menace par un modele fonde sur l'affection entre les partenaires et sur l'importance de la personnalite de l'epoux ou de l'epouse ("the affinal or conjugal one").
The union of husband and wife and the birth of their children joins two lineages, creating important affinal ties that cannot easily be ignored.
This was all the more confusing to the authors, who in previous field research had recorded how Chambri tended to see themselves not as "products of formative experiences and the repositories of personal feelings" but as "substantially but not exclusively socially embedded in clan-based, affinal politics of multigenerational alliances and competitions" (Gewertz and Errington, 1996:481).
He found that over twenty-five percent of Mexican leaders between 1935 and 1976 had blood or affinal relatives in politics.
Also, husbands were required to repay bridewealth contributors with standardized portions of pork, and occasionally to present their wife's relatives with a large pig for slaughter to cement the affinal relationship.
Ayllu members owed prescribed labor obligations to other ayllu members based on their kinship and affinal relationships to each other and could expect particular kinds of labor from others in return.
Godparentage, for instance, bound individuals together in a spiritual/ritual relationship, but it could also reinforce consanguineal or affinal or even both ties.
(2) The concept of family used in this study is the extended family, defined as being related by blood (consanguineal), marriage (affinal) or formal social convention, such as adoption or de facto marriage, but beyond the nuclear family household of parents and dependent children.