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DRL 11 – Domestic Relations Law 11

DRL 11

DRL 11
Domestic Relations Law 11

No marriage shall be valid unless solemnized by either:

1. A clergyman or minister of any religion, or by the senior leader, or any of the other leaders, of The Society for Ethical Culture in the city of New York, having its principal office in the borough of Manhattan, or by the leader of The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, having its principal office in the borough of Brooklyn of the city of New York, or of the Westchester Ethical Society, having its principal office in Westchester county, or of the Ethical Culture Society of Long Island, having its principal office in Nassau county, or of the Riverdale-Yonkers Ethical Society having its principal office in Bronx county, or by the leader of any other Ethical Culture Society affiliated with the American Ethical Union;  provided that no clergyman or minister as defined in section two of the religious corporations law, or Society for Ethical Culture leader shall be required to solemnize any marriage when acting in his or her capacity under this subdivision.

1-a. A refusal by a clergyman or minister as defined in section two of the religious corporations law, or Society for Ethical Culture leader to solemnize any marriage under this subdivision shall not create a civil claim or cause of action or result in any state or local government action to penalize, withhold benefits or discriminate against such clergyman or minister.

2. The current or a former governor, a mayor of a village, a county executive of a county, or a mayor, recorder, city magistrate, police justice or police magistrate of a city, a former mayor or the city clerk of a city of the first class of over one million inhabitants or any of his or her deputies or not more than four regular clerks, designated by him or her for such purpose as provided in section eleven-a of this article, except that in cities which contain more than one hundred thousand and less than one million inhabitants, a marriage shall be solemnized by the mayor, or police justice, and by no other officer of such city, except as provided in subdivisions one and three of this section.

2-a. A member of the New York state legislature, provided that such person shall not charge or receive a fee.

3. A judge of the federal circuit court of appeals for the second circuit, a judge of a federal district court for the northern, southern, eastern or western district of New York, a judge of the United States court of international trade, a federal administrative law judge presiding in this state, a justice or judge of a court of the unified court system, a housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York, a retired justice or judge of the unified court system or a retired housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York certified pursuant to paragraph (k) of subdivision two of section two hundred twelve of the judiciary law, the clerk of the appellate division of the supreme court in each judicial department, a retired city clerk who served for more than ten years in such capacity in a city having a population of one million or more or a county clerk of a county wholly within cities having a population of one million or more;  or,

3-a. A judge or peacemaker judge of any Indian tribal court, a chief, a headman, or any member of any tribal council or other governing body of any nation, tribe or band of Indians in this state duly designated by such body for the purpose of officiating at marriages, or any other persons duly designated by such body, in keeping with the culture and traditions of any such nation, tribe or band of Indians in this state, to officiate at marriages.

4. A written contract of marriage signed by both parties and at least two witnesses, all of whom shall subscribe the same within this state, stating the place of residence of each of the parties and witnesses and the date and place of marriage, and acknowledged before a judge of a court of record of this state by the parties and witnesses in the manner required for the acknowledgment of a conveyance of real estate to entitle the same to be recorded.

5. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, where either or both of the parties is under the age of eighteen years a marriage shall be solemnized only by those authorized in subdivision one of this section or by (1) the mayor of a city or village, or county executive of a county, or by (2) a judge of the federal circuit court of appeals for the second circuit, a judge of a federal district court for the northern, southern, eastern or western district of New York, a judge of the United States court of international trade, or a justice or a judge of a court of the unified court system, or by (3) a housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York, or by (4) a former mayor or the clerk of a city of the first class of over one million inhabitants or any of his or her deputies designated by him or her for such purposes as provided in section eleven-a of this chapter.

6. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article to the contrary no marriage shall be solemnized by a public officer specified in this section, other than a judge of a federal district court for the northern, southern, eastern or western district of New York, a judge of the United States court of international trade, a federal administrative law judge presiding in this state, a judge or justice of the unified court system of this state, a housing judge of the civil court of the city of New York, or a retired judge or justice of the unified court system or a retired housing judge of the civil court certified pursuant to paragraph (k) of subdivision two of section two hundred twelve of the judiciary law, nor by any of the persons specified in subdivision three-a of this section, outside the territorial jurisdiction in which he or she was elected, appointed or duly designated.  Such a public officer, however, elected or appointed within the city of New York may solemnize a marriage anywhere within such city.

7. The term “clergyman” or “minister” when used in this article, shall include those defined in section two of the religious corporations law.  The word “magistrate,” when so used, includes any person referred to in the second or third subdivision.

1 NY Civil Practice: Family Court Proceedings § 3.04
The marriage must be solemnized by a person authorized by statute to perform a marriage ceremony. Among the persons authorized by statute to perform marriage ceremonies are clergy of all faiths, designated leaders of Ethical Cultural Societies, judges of both state and federal courts, mayors and former mayors of cities and villages, the clerks of each of New York’s four Appellate Divisions and retired justices or judges of the unified court system who obtain certification from the Office of Court Administration. As of January 1, 1989, governing bodies of villages, towns or cities were given the authority to appoint one or more “marriage officers” who have the authority to solemnize marriages. New York City imposes a registration requirement on persons authorized to solemnize marriages in that such persons must register their names and addresses with the NYC Clerk. Failure to register will not render a marriage invalid. A marriage performed shipboard involving residents of New York City must be reported in writing to the Clerk by an appropriate representative of the ship owner within three days of the ship’s arrival.

DRL 11-A
Domestic Relations Law 11-A

1. a. The city clerk of a city of the first class of over one million inhabitants may designate in writing any of his deputies or not more than four from among the permanent members of his staff to perform marriage ceremonies, which designation shall be in writing and be filed in the office of such city clerk.  The day of such filing shall be endorsed on the designation.  Any such designation shall be and remain in effect for six months from the filing thereof.

b. Whenever persons to whom the city clerk of any such city of the first class shall have issued a marriage license shall request him to solemnize the rites of matrimony between them and present to him such license it shall be the duty of such clerk, either in person or by one of his deputies or the permanent members of his staff so designated by him to solemnize such marriage;  provided, however, that nothing contained either in this section or in subdivision two of section eleven of this chapter shall be construed as empowering or requiring either the said city clerk or any of his designated deputies or the permanent members of his staff so designated to solemnize marriages at any place other than at the office of such city clerk.

c. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article upon presentation to said city clerk in person or to any of his deputies of such license by one or both of such persons under the age of eighteen years with a request to solemnize the rites of matrimony between them, it shall be the duty of such city clerk either in person or by one of his deputies to solemnize such marriage provided there is submitted to said city clerk, in addition, the written request therefor by the parents of any such persons under the age of eighteen years and provided further that said parents shall be personally present at such requested solemnization.

d. In all cases in which the city clerk of such city or one of his deputies or the permanent members of his staff so designated shall perform a marriage ceremony such official shall demand and be entitled to collect therefor a fee to be fixed by the council of the city of New York not exceeding twenty-five dollars, which sum shall be paid by the contracting parties before or immediately upon the solemnization of the marriage;  and all such fees so received shall be paid over to the commissioner of finance of the city.

2. The signature and seal of said clerk of cities of the first class of over one million inhabitants upon the marriage license, certificate of marriage, registration, and marriage search provided by this article may be a facsimile imprinted, stamped, or engraved thereon.

3. The said clerk of cities of the first class of one million inhabitants or more may designate among the permanent members of his staff one or more individuals who shall be permitted to sign his name and affix his official seal upon the marriage license, certificate of marriage registration, and marriage search provided by this article requiring the signature and seal of the city clerk.

1 New York Civil Practice: Matrimonial Actions § 4.01
DRL § 170(4) authorizes the court to grant a divorce based on the commission of an act of adultery, although it is quite rare today to rely on that as most just use 170(7) which discusses irreconcilable difference between the couple. For the purposes of DRL Articles 10 (action for divorce), 11 (action for separation), and 11-A (special provisions relating to divorce and separation), adultery is defined as the commission of an act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct, voluntarily performed by the defendant, with a person other than the plaintiff after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant. Oral sexual conduct and anal sexual conduct include, but are not limited to, sexual conduct as defined in Penal Law §§ 130.00(2) and 130.20(3).2

DRL 11-B
Domestic Relations Law 11-B

Every person authorized by law to perform the marriage ceremony, before performing any such ceremonies in the city of New York, shall register his or her name and address in the office of the city clerk of the city of New York.  Every such person, before performing any marriage ceremonies subsequent to a change in his or her address, shall likewise register such change of address.  Such city clerk is hereby empowered to cancel the registration of any person so registered upon satisfactory proof that the registration was fraudulent, or upon satisfactory proof that such person is no longer entitled to perform such ceremony.

1 NY Civil Practice: Family Court Proceedings § 3.04
While the consideration of statutory qualifications to marry are necessary in order for the Family Court to determine the validity of a marriage for support purposes, the Domestic Relations Law also imposes several procedural requirements on the act of marriage.
A marriage license must be obtained from a city or town clerk in the state and the ceremony itself must occur within 60 days of the issuance of the license. Black and Hispanic applicants must provide the issuing authority with the results of a test for sickle cell anemia although a positive result will not result in a denial of the marriage license.
The clerk is also required to provide the applicants with information about rubella and the thalassemia trait, a genetic trait for a group of blood disorders. The marriage must be solemnized by a person authorized by statute to perform a marriage ceremony.
Among the persons authorized by statute to perform marriage ceremonies are clergy of all faiths, designated leaders of Ethical Cultural Societies, judges of both the state and federal courts, mayors and former mayors of cities and villages, the clerks of each of New York’s four Appellate Divisions and retired justices or judges of the unified court system who obtain certification from the Office of Court Administration.
As of January 1, 1989, governing bodies of villages, towns or cities were given the authority to appoint one or more “marriage officers” who have the authority to solemnize marriages. New York City imposes a registration requirement on persons authorized to solemnize marriages in that such persons must register their names and addresses with the New York City Clerk.
Failure to register will not render a marriage invalid. A marriage performed shipboard involving residents of New York City must be reported in writing to the Clerk by an appropriate representative of the ship owner within three days of the ship’s arrival.

DRL 11-C
Domestic Relations Law 11-C

1. Notwithstanding the provisions of section eleven of this article or any other law, the governing body of any village, town, or city may appoint one or more marriage officers who shall have the authority to solemnize a marriage which marriage shall be valid if performed in accordance with other provisions of law.  Nothing herein contained shall nullify the authority of other persons authorized to solemnize marriages.

2. The number of such marriage officers appointed for a municipality shall be determined by the governing body of the municipality.  Such marriage officers shall be eighteen years of age or over, and they shall reside in the municipality by which they are appointed.  A marriage officer shall have the authority to solemnize a marriage within the territory of the municipality which makes the appointment.

3. A marriage officer may receive a salary or wage in an amount to be determined by the governing body of the municipality which appoints him or her.  In the event that a marriage officer receives a salary or wage, he or she shall not receive any remuneration or consideration from any other source for performing his or her duties.  In the event that a marriage officer does not receive a salary or wage, he or she may accept and keep up to seventy-five dollars for each marriage at which he or she officiates, paid by or on behalf of the persons married.

4. The term of office of a marriage officer shall be as determined by the governing body which makes the appointment but shall not exceed four years.  A marriage officer shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and may be removed from office with or without cause on ten days written notice filed with the clerk of the municipality and sent by registered mail return receipt requested to the marriage officer.
Matter of Hebel v. West, 2005 NY Slip Op 7887, ¶¶ 1-3, 25 A.D.3d 172, 174-75, 803 N.Y.S.2d 242, 244 (App. Div. 3rd Dept.)
In this matter, during a temporary restraining order was in effect, the Village of New Paltz Board of Trustees, by a divided vote, appointed respondent Rebecca Rotzler as a marriage officer (as this was permissible under Domestic Relations Law § 11-c). After the permanent injunction was issued, the Board  of Trustees, again by a divided vote, added respondent Julia Walsh as a marriage officer. Rotzler and Walsh proceeded to solemnize same-sex marriages.

DRL 11-D
Domestic Relations Law 11-D

1. A town or city clerk shall issue a one-day marriage officiant license upon request. Such one-day marriage officiant shall have the authority to solemnize a marriage which marriage shall be valid if performed in accordance with other provisions of law. Nothing herein contained shall nullify the authority of other persons authorized to solemnize marriages.

2. Such one-day marriage officiant shall be eighteen years of age or over and need not be a resident of the town or city to which they apply or a resident of the state. A one-day marriage officiant shall have the authority to solemnize a marriage anywhere in the state.

3. An applicant for a one-day marriage officiant license must apply for such license in the same town or city clerk’s office as the couple to be married. Such applicant shall not be required to personally appear.

4. A town or city clerk shall be entitled to a fee of twenty-five dollars for issuing a one-day marriage officiant license. Such license shall be issued only after payment of such fee and submission of a completed application form.

5. The application form shall require the following information of the applicant: name, date of birth, address, email address and telephone number. The application form shall also require the following information of the parties to be married: names, dates of birth, and addresses as they appear on the application for a marriage license.

6. Such license shall only be valid for the parties to be married as stated on the application and shall expire upon the earlier of either completion of such solemnization or the expiration of the marriage license.

7. One-day marriage officiants shall be exempt from registration as required pursuant to section eleven-b of this article.

This passage outlines the procedures and requirements for obtaining a one-day marriage officiant license, which allows an individual to temporarily officiate a marriage in accordance with the law in a specific jurisdiction within a state. It ensures that the marriage officiant meets certain eligibility criteria and provides the necessary information for proper documentation.

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