▷ Degrees of Affinity » Meaning, Relatedness and Differences

Humans are sociable creatures who live in groups and in society. From birth, they bond with the people around them. These biological, relational, or social ties may be measured in degrees by consanguinity, degrees of affinity, or by socio-affective ties that determine the closeness of their relationship. But what is kinship or what is the relationship between kinship and affinity between people? What is the significance of consanguinity in family ties or in types of consanguinity between families? Answers below.

Types of kinship:
Meaning and degrees of all kinship ties (straight line, consanguinity…)

➥ Read the article

What are degrees of affinity?

Affinity is understood as that relation of kinship which establishes the union of one of the spouses with the blood relatives of the other. This relationship arises from marriage and is calculated in lines and degrees in the same way as consanguinity.

In this sense, the degrees of affinity are those ties and positions that determine how distant the kinship is that connects one of the spouses to the other’s family members. Consanguineous relatives are not descended from each other, therefore an analogy is made with the direct relatives of the spouse.

Each generation within a family group represents a degree of kinship, which may be consanguineous or consanguineous, depending on the position in relation to the person. The series of degrees of consanguinity or generations will determine the distance of filial relation which may exist between two or more persons; and therefore the line of succession. Therefore, we are talking about first-degree relatives or second-degree relatives.

Importance of degrees of affinity

Determining the degree of kinship that unites two people makes it possible to determine the line of inheritance that exists between them. Hence in cases of succession to legacies ab intestate or intestate, it is essential to know the level or distance of direct and consanguineous relatives.

When a person dies without leaving a will, the civil laws establish the manner of vesting and distribution of the assets that make up the estate, according to the degree of kinship between the survivors and the deceased.

In this way, the order of division of the property of the deceased can be organized. In most laws, the surviving spouse and children have priority in the line of succession; that is, they participate first before other family members.

Affinity degrees can also serve to configure an obstacle to marriage between two people. In some states, sons-in-law to each other or father-in-law to daughters-in-law cannot marry. This bar continues even when the marital relationship is extinguished by the death of the spouse.

Characterization of degrees of affinity

Degrees of affinity represent certain elements that allow them to be characterized and distinguish the differences between consanguinity and affinity. They also serve to know how distant or how close is the kinship that unites that person to his spouse’s family. Following are some important characteristics of degrees of affinity.


Kinship, measured by degree of affinity, is a product of law. That is, it is the law that determines how it is established, how it is calculated and who are direct relatives by affinity. Consanguinity therefore arises as a direct consequence of the legal act of marriage. Thus, when a person marries another, he becomes part of his spouse’s family group.


In some jurisdictions, degrees of affinity may be terminated after the spouses’ marital relationship is terminated. Consanguinity can therefore be changed as a result of divorce or annulment. So the bond that unites a person with his relatives is not permanent, as it can be extinguished.

We depend

This characteristic derives from the previous one, in the sense that the types of affinity between people will depend on the existence of the marriage relationship. In other words, the associated relationship is created once the legal act of marriage is celebrated and extinguished once the said relationship is dissolved.

What are degrees of affinity?

As stated above, levels of kinship determine how far one person is from another’s family ties, whether by blood or affinity. These levels are calculated per generation. Thus, one degree separates parents from children, and another degree separates grandparents from grandchildren. But what are the degrees of attachment between people?

In consanguinity, the degrees of consanguinity go up to the fourth degree, although some others may be socially recognized, the law provides legal consequences up to the fourth degree.

A straight line and a silver line are used to measure the degree of kinship. Lineage includes direct descendants and ascendants: great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In the silver line it is determined by first locating the common stem or common ancestor among these relatives and then ascending or descending in a straight line until the relative to whom you want to know the degree of relationship is reached.

common trunk

For example, to understand the definition of first cousins, you can do the following exercise. If Anna and Maria are cousins, the common stem of both must be discovered to then begin to determine the degree of kinship that separates them. Thus, the common stem of Anna and Maria is their grandfather.

If we go from Anna to her grandfather, we find that there is a second degree of relationship in a straight line. From there we descend to Maria and find that there are two more degrees. Therefore, it can be seen that there are four degrees in total. Therefore, Anna and Maria are relatives of the fourth degree in the silver line.

If you ask yourself, how many degrees are there between my great aunt and my sister or my cousin’s son who is related to me and my sister? So you’ll have to go up the common stock and then straight down, counting each generation as a degree of consanguinity. Therefore, your cousin’s child would be a fifth blood relative in the silver line, or what is colloquially known as a second cousin.

relatives by consanguinity

In the case of relatives, the analogy is applied along a straight and silvered line to determine the distance in the relationship. However, the law recognizes or provides legal consequences to close relatives up to the second degree.

In this sense, only the parents, children and siblings of the husband are recognized. The husband’s parents would be related by the first degree and are known as in-laws. On the other hand, according to the types of affinity, the husband’s brothers and sisters are relatives of the second degree in the silver line and are known as Shurei.

Differences between degrees of affinity and consanguinity

The family ties that unite people depend not only on natural or blood relationship, but the law can recognize and determine the degree of consanguinity between members of the same family. In this way, degrees of affinity and degrees of consanguinity are distinguished. Here are the most notable differences between degree of affinity and degree of consanguinity relationships.

Degrees of consanguinity degrees of affinity
Offspring derive from each other They are not descendants of each other
Nature of the relationship Relationship is a product of nature. it’s biological It is a product of the law. This is a legal relationship
Duration Her constant can be dissolved
Quantity to fourth grade to second grade
Source Occurs at birth This is a consequence of marriage
Source: own production.


One of the differences between types of affinity and degrees of consanguinity is the relationship that arises through the descent of family members. While some are descendants of each other, others are not.

Degrees of consanguinity

Relatives related by degrees of consanguinity are descended from each other in a straight line; or they are descendants of a common lineage in an indirect line. So are grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren who are descended from each other; and the brothers, cousins, and nephews who descend from a common stock.

degrees of affinity

On the other hand, relatives related by degree of consanguinity are not descendants of each other, but are related by a legal relationship arising from marriage.

Nature of the relationship

The nature of the relationship is another of the main differences between degrees of affinity and consanguinity. Whether it is a natural or biological relationship, or a legal relationship, it will be possible to distinguish between a type of affinity relationship and a consanguineous relationship.

Degrees of consanguinity

Kinship, which is derived from degrees of consanguinity, consists of a natural or biological connection that is created by blood. That is, blood ties unite people by blood ties.

degrees of affinity

In contrast, kinship, which arises from the types of affinity, consists of a legal or juridical relationship that arises by virtue of marriage between two people. Therefore, affinity is a legal consequence of a legal act such as marriage.


The ties that unite people through kinship can be lifelong or can be severed as a result of certain legal actions such as divorce or marriage annulment.

Degrees of consanguinity

Degrees of consanguinity are constant. So one will keep the same family degrees with respect to another for life. Therefore, kinship ceases to exist with the death of the deceased.

degrees of affinity

On the other hand, degrees of affinity can be mutated, dissolved or annulled. In some states, the laws allow for the termination of a relationship when a marriage is terminated as a result of a divorce or annulment.


Although degrees of affinity are calculated analogously to degrees of consanguinity, the number or degree of degrees or levels is not the same for both types of consanguinity.

Degrees of consanguinity

Relatives in a direct line, united by blood ties, are calculated by direct and collateral lines to the fourth degree. Thus relatives of the first degree may be distinguished as parents and children, relatives of the second degree as brothers and sisters; third degree, uncles and fourth degree: cousins.

degrees of affinity

In terms of degrees of kinship between people, they differ only up to the second. In other words, matchmaking relatives reach the second degree. In this way, in-laws (first degree) and brothers-in-law (second degree) are recognized.


The source of kinship can also determine the difference between relationship and the degree of affinity or consanguinity between people.

Degrees of consanguinity

Consanguinity occurs with the birth of a person. That is, at birth, the individual is already related to the people of his family by blood.

degrees of affinity

On the other hand, related kinship as well as degrees of affinity arise after people have married. Therefore, they are a direct consequence of the marriage relationship and unites them with the family of the other spouse.

In short, the family is one of the most important institutions in society. The ties that unite people, whether they are degrees of consanguinity or degrees of affinity, correspond to socio-affective ties that enable the development and strengthening of people’s character. The new families that are created by marriage include not only the new spouses, but also the relatives of each of them in various kinds of affinity and affective and social ties.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.