**(Source: Law of Family Teaching Material **

**Aschalew Ashagrie & Martha Belete)**

There are three sources of family relationships namely, marriage, filiation and adoption. The status of the persons as well as the rights and obligations of the persons differs with the difference in the source of the relationship. This section deals with the different sources of family relationships and the effects of the relationships.

## Relationship by consanguinity

Relationship by consanguinity
results from the birth. It is ‘the tie which exists between two persons, such
as the son and the father, the grandson and the grandfather; or those who
descend from a common ancestor, such as two brothers, or two cousins.’^{[1]} Hence, relationship by consanguinity is a
natural fact which is derived from birth.

Excerpts from Planiol pages
387-389

*The series of relatives who descend from each other form what is called
a line. It is a direct relationship: it is represented by a straight line going
from one relative to the other, no matter how many intermediaries there may be.
As to the relationship which unites two relatives descending from a common
ancestor, it is called collateral relationship: its graphic relationship is
formed by an angle. The two relatives occupy the inferior extremity of the two
sides and the common author is at the top. Two collateral relatives are thus
not in the same line; they form part of two different lines which started from
the common author, who represents the point where the junction is made; the two
lines travel side by side, which fact explains the word 'collateral'; each of
the two *

*relatives is, in regard to the other, in a line parallel to his own,
collateralis. … *

*In each line relationship is counted by degrees, i.e. by generation. So
the son and the father are related in the first degree; the grandson and the
grandfather in the second degree, and so on.
*

* *

*Method of calculation of relatives in the direct line is easy.: there
are as many degrees as there are generations going from one relative to the
other. *

*When it comes to collateral relationship there are two ways of
computation. The one used by the civil law count the number of generations in
the two lines by departing from the common ancestors and by adding the two
series of degrees. Thus, two brothers are related in the second degree (one
generation in each branch); an uncle and his nephew are related in the third
degree….in the Canon law another way is used to compute the degrees: the
generations are counted only on one side. When the two lines are equal, either
may be taken. When they are not equal, the longest one of the two is chosen and
no attention is paid to the other. The result of this Canonical computation is
that two first cousins are related in the second degree, while according to the
civilian computation they are related in the fourth degree*

To reach to the degree of
relationship between persons related in the direct line, we simply count the
number of lines between them. Here, the grandfather and the grandchild are
related in the third degree in the direct line.

In calculating the degree of
relationship in the collateral line, there are two way, which will lead to
different results. Let us have a look at the following diagram to have a clear
understanding of the two systems

The children of A are related
in the collateral line. If we are using the Civil law system to calculate the
degree of relationship between B and C, who are brothers, we will add the two
lines which are departing from the common ancestor A. Hence, B and C are
related in the second degree. B, who is the uncle of E, is related to E in the
third degree. And B is related to F in the fourth degree.

On the other hand, if we use
the Canon law, the result will be different. As mentioned earlier, the cannon
law tells us to count only on one side. When the two lines are equal, we will
simply take one line. Accordingly, the degree of relationship between B and C
is one. Conversely, if the lines are not equal, the longest line is to be
taken. Hence, in the above diagram, B is related to F in the third degree.

When we look into the
Ethiopian Civil Code of 1960, it does not govern how the relationship in the
direct line is to be computed. Article 551 tries to give some highlight on how
the computation of relationship in the direct line is to be conducted. The
Amharic version of the Code states as follows

However, this article only
tells us that calculation of degree of relationship in consanguial line is to
be done by taking the common ancestor as a bench mark.

## Relationship by Affinity

Relationship by affinity is
created as a result of marriage. 'Relatives through marriage are persons who
are not relatives, but which join the family by means of a marriage.'^{[2]}
When a marriage is concluded, the relationship is formed between one of the
spouses with the blood relatives of the other spouse. The woman who marries
becomes the daughter in law (by marriage) of the father and mother of the
husband and the husband becomes the son in law of the mother and father of the
wife. 'The two spouses are considered as being only one, so that all the
relationships of the one become, by the effects of marriage, common to the other.'^{[3]} One thing which needs to be noted here is the
fact that the relationship created does not go beyond this. That means, a
relationship does not exist between the relatives of one spouse with the
relatives of the other spouse.

## Relationship by Adoption

Relationship by adoption is
created as a result of a special contract between the adopter and the original
families of the adopted child. Unlike blood relationship, it is a fictitious
relationship which resulted from the agreement of the parties to the adoption
contract. However, it is also an imitation of the real relationship. Chapter
eight deals in detail about adoption, and hence, it is not necessary to go to
the details under this section.

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