The Independent yesterday reported that a phone app has been launched in Iceland to warn users when a prospective partner is someone to whom they are related – thus helping to avoid accidental incest.
Given the small population on the island, the chances of accidentally romancing a distant relation who is still too close for comfort is far higher than some other countries. The enterprising developer of the app has used family history information to help users identify branches of their family tree. Users can elect to have their phone notify them when they meet up with someone who appears on their family tree or research for themselves at their leisure. Amorous Icelanders are urged to “hit the app before they hit the bed” to ensure there’s no nasty surprises the morning after. It is not yet known whether the app has prevented any mistakes, but it is marketed as being fun and taken in good spirit.
In England, it is only close relations who are prohibited by law from a romantic relationship, though many people elect to widen the prohibited degrees considerably by choice when looking at a prospective partner. Any marriage taking place between individuals within the list of prohibited degrees would not be legally valid.
By Family Law Solicitor Cara Nuttall.