2002 Indiana SB 384 - Covenant Marriage


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2002 Indiana Senate Bill No. 384

DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Citations Affected: IC 31-9-2-28.5; IC 31-11; IC 31-15.
Synopsis: Covenant marriage. Defines "covenant marriage". Provides that
couples may designate a covenant marriage when applying for a marriage
license or after marriage. Requires a marriage license to indicate whether
the marriage is a covenant marriage. Establishes the procedure for declaring
a covenant marriage. Requires the state department of health to maintain
records of covenant marriage declarations. Provides limited grounds for legal
separation or dissolution of a covenant marriage. Requires the state
department of health to develop an informational pamphlet regarding covenant
marriage. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the interim
study committee on family law issues.)
Effective: Upon passage.
Clark
January 10, 2002, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.
Introduced
Second Regular Session 112th General Assembly (2002)
SENATE BILL No. 384

VERSION: Introduced
January 10, 2002
Clark

A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning family law and
juvenile law.


TEXT:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SECTION 1. IC 31-9-2-28.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO
READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE]: Sec. 28.5. "Covenant marriage",
for purposes of IC 31-11-4 and IC 31-11-4.5, means a marriage entered into by
one (1) male and one (1) female who:

(1) understand and agree that the marriage between them is a lifelong
relationship;

(2) have received counseling emphasizing the nature, purposes, and
responsibilities of marriage;

(3) understand and agree that only when there has been a complete and
total breach of the marital covenant may the nonbreaching party seek a
dissolution of the marriage; and

(4) declare their intent to enter into a covenant marriage on:

(A) their application for a marriage license under IC 31-11-4-4; or


(B) a declaration of intent to designate their existing marriage as a
covenant marriage under IC 31-11-4.5-2.

SECTION 2. IC 31-11-4-4, AS AMENDED BY P.L.213-1999, SECTION 8, IS AMENDED
TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE]: Sec. 4. (a) An application for a
marriage license must be written and verified. The application must contain
the following information concerning each of the applicants:

(1) Full name.

(2) Birthplace.

(3) Residence.

(4) Age.

(5) Names of dependent children.

(6) Full name, including the maiden name of a mother, last known
residence, and, if known, the place of birth of:

(A) the birth parents of the applicant if the applicant is not adopted; or

(B) the adoptive parents of the applicant if the applicant is adopted.

(7) A statement of facts necessary to determine whether any legal
impediment to the proposed marriage exists.

(8) Except as provided in subsection (e), an acknowledgment that both
applicants must sign, affirming that the applicants have received the
information described in section 5 of this chapter, including a list of test
sites for the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
The acknowledgment required by this subdivision must be in the following
form:

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I acknowledge that I have received information regarding dangerous
communicable diseases that are sexually transmitted and a list of test sites
for the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

__________________________ ____________


Signature of Applicant Date

__________________________ ____________


Signature of Applicant Date

(9) If the parties intend to contract a covenant marriage, the following
statement, signed by both applicants, along with the documents required under
IC 31-11-4.5-1:

We, ________ (name of intended husband) and ________ (name of intended
wife), do hereby declare our intent to contract a covenant marriage and,
accordingly, have executed a declaration of intent and filed it with this
application for a marriage license.

(b) The clerk of the circuit court shall record the application, including
the license and certificate of marriage, in a book provided for that purpose.
This book is a public record.

(c) The state department of health shall develop uniform forms for
applications for marriage licenses, which must indicate whether the
individuals applying for the marriage license are declaring their intent to
enter into a covenant marriage. The state department of health shall
furnish these forms to the circuit court clerks. The state department of
health may periodically revise these forms.

(d) The state department of health shall require that the record of
marriage form developed under subsection (c) must include each applicant's
Social Security number which must be obtained unless the applicant objects.
The record of marriage form must specify that an applicant is not required by
law to reveal the applicant's Social Security number as part of the marriage
application. Any Social Security numbers collected on the record of marriage
form shall be kept confidential and used only to carry out the purposes of
the Title IV-D program. A person who knowingly or intentionally violates
confidentiality regarding an applicant's Social Security
number as described in this subsection commits a Class A infraction.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a person who objects on religious
grounds is not required to:

(1) verify the application under subsection (a) by oath or affirmation; or

(2) sign the acknowledgment described in subsection (a)(8).

However, before the clerk of the circuit court may issue a marriage license to
a member of the Old Amish Mennonite church, the bishop of that member must
sign a statement that the information in the application is true.

(f) If a person objects on religious grounds to:

(1) verifying the application under subsection (a) by oath or affirmation;
or

(2) signing the acknowledgment described in subsection (a)(8);

the clerk of the circuit court shall indicate that fact on the application for
a marriage license.

SECTION 3. IC 31-11-4-15 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]: Sec. 15. Each marriage license must have two (2) certificates
attached to the license. The state department of health shall prescribe forms for these certificates. One (1) certificate must be marked "Original" and one (1) certificate must be marked
"Duplicate". Each certificate must contain the following:

(1) For individuals not declaring their marriage a covenant marriage:


MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

I ________ (name) certify that on ______ (date) at ______ in _______
County, Indiana, _______ of ______ County, ______ (state) and _______ of
______ County, _____ (state) were married by me as authorized under a
marriage license that was issued by the Clerk of the Circuit Court of _______
County, Indiana, dated _______.

Signed

(OFFICIAL DESIGNATION)

(2) For individuals declaring their marriage a covenant marriage:

MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

I ________ (name) certify that on ______ (date) at ______ in _______
County, Indiana, _______ of ______ County, ______ (state) and _______ of
______ County, _____ (state) were married by me into a covenant marriage as
authorized under a marriage license that was issued by the Clerk of the
Circuit Court of _______ County, Indiana, dated _______.

Signed

(OFFICIAL DESIGNATION)

SECTION 4. IC 31-11-4-18 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]: Sec. 18. (a) The clerk of the circuit court shall forward marriage
records to the state department of health on at least a monthly basis.

(b) The state department of health shall:

(1) prescribe:

(A) a form for recording marriages that provides a manner for
the clerk of the circuit court to indicate whether the marriage was declared
a covenant marriage; and

(B) a form for recording declarations of a covenant marriage filed
under IC 31-11-4.5-2;

(2) accept a court order under section 17 of this chapter (or IC
31-7-3-15.5 before its repeal) in place of a marriage certificate;

(3) prepare an annual index of all marriages solemnized in Indiana
that:

(A) distinguishes between marriages designated as covenant marriages
and marriages not so designated; and

(B) indicates declarations of covenant marriage filed under IC
31-11-4.5-2;

and furnish at least one (1) index to the Indiana state library;

(4) furnish to the Indiana state library reports on records of
marriage published by the state department of health that:

(A) distinguish between marriages designated as covenant marriages and
marriages not so designated; and

(B) indicate declarations of a covenant marriage filed under IC
31-11-4.5-2; and

(5) develop an informational pamphlet entitled "Covenant Marriage
Law", which outlines in sufficient detail the consequences of entering into a
covenant marriage. The state department of health shall make this
informational pamphlet available upon request to any priest, minister, rabbi,
clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, clergyman of any religious sect,
or marriage counselor.

SECTION 5. IC 31-11-4.5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO
READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE]:

Chapter 4.5. Covenant Marriage

Sec. 1. (a) Individuals applying for a marriage license under IC
31-11-4 may, at the time of filing their application for a marriage license,
file a declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage consisting of
the following documents:

(1) A recitation to the following effect, with the signatures of both
parties witnessed by a notary public:

A COVENANT MARRIAGE

"We do solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant between a man and
a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for so long as they
both may live. We have chosen each other carefully and disclosed to one
another everything that could adversely affect the decision to enter into
this marriage. We have received premarital counseling on the nature,
purposes, and responsibilities of marriage. We have read the "Covenant
Marriage Law" informational pamphlet, and we understand that a covenant
marriage is for life. If we experience marital difficulties, we commit
ourselves to take all reasonable efforts to preserve our marriage, including
marital counseling.

With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we do hereby
declare that our marriage will be bound by Indiana law on covenant marriages,
and we promise to love, honor, and care for one another as husband and wife
for the rest of our lives.".

(2) An affidavit by the parties that they have received premarital
counseling from a priest, minister, rabbi, clerk of the Religious Society of
Friends, a clergyman of any religious sect, or a marriage counselor that
includes a discussion of the seriousness of covenant marriage, communication
of the fact that a covenant marriage is a commitment for life, a discussion
of the obligation to seek marital counseling in times of marital
difficulties, and a discussion of the exclusive grounds for obtaining a
judgment of legal separation or for legally dissolving a covenant marriage.


(3) A notarized attestation, signed by the counselor and attached to
or included in the parties' affidavit, confirming that the parties were
counseled as to the nature and purpose of the marriage and the grounds for
termination of the marriage and acknowledging that the counselor provided to
the parties the informational pamphlet entitled "Covenant Marriage Law"
developed by the state department of health.

(4) If one (1) or both of the parties are minors, the consent required
by IC 31-11-2.

(b) The recitation required under subsection (a)(1) shall be prepared
in duplicate originals, one (1) of which shall be retained by the parties and
the other of which shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court and
attached to the duplicate marriage certificate when filed with the clerk of
the circuit court.

Sec. 2. (a) A married couple may execute a declaration of intent to
designate their marriage as a covenant marriage (as defined in IC
31-9-2-28.5) to be governed by the laws governing covenant marriages. The
declaration consists of the following documents:

(1) A recitation to the following effect, with the signatures of both
parties witnessed by a notary public:

A COVENANT MARRIAGE

"We do solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant between a man and
a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for so long as they
both may live. We understand the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of
marriage. We have read the "Covenant Marriage Law" informational pamphlet,
and we understand that a covenant marriage is for life. If we experience
marital difficulties, we commit ourselves to take all reasonable efforts to
preserve our marriage, including marital counseling.

With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we do hereby
declare that our marriage will be bound by Indiana law on covenant marriages,
and we renew our promise to love, honor, and care for one another as husband
and wife for the rest of our lives.".

(2) An affidavit by the parties that they have discussed their intent
to designate their marriage as a covenant marriage with a priest, minister,
rabbi, clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, a clergyman of any
religious sect, or a marriage counselor, and that the discussion included a
discussion of the obligation to seek marital counseling in times of marital
difficulties and the exclusive grounds for obtaining a judgment of legal
separation or for legally dissolving a covenant marriage.

(3) A notarized attestation, signed by the counselor and attached to
or included in the parties' affidavit, acknowledging that the counselor
provided to the parties the informational pamphlet entitled "Covenant
Marriage Law" developed by the state department of health.

(b) The recitation required under subsection (a)(1) shall be prepared
in duplicate originals, one (1) of which shall be retained by the parties and
the other of which shall be filed as determined under subsection (c).

(c) The documents required under subsection (a) shall be filed with
the clerk of the circuit court:

(1) in which the couple's marriage license is filed, if the couple was
married in Indiana; or

(2) in the county where the couple is domiciled, if the couple was
married outside Indiana.

(d) If the couple is married outside Indiana, the documents required
under subsection (a) must be accompanied by a certified copy of the couple's
marriage certificate.

(e) Upon receipt of a declaration designating a marriage as a covenant
marriage under this section, the clerk of the circuit court shall make a
notation on the marriage certificate of the declaration and attach a copy of
the declaration to the certificate.

SECTION 6. IC 31-15-1-2 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]:

Sec. 2. The purposes and policies of this article are as follows:

[[[THIS LANGUAGE DELETED FROM EXISTING LAW: (1) To abolish the existing grounds for absolute and limited divorce and to provide as the basis for dissolution of marriage: (A) irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; (B) the conviction of either party, subsequent to the marriage, of a felony; (C) impotence existing at the time of the marriage; and (D) incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least two (2) years. ]]]

(1) To provide for the appropriate procedures for the
dissolution of marriage.

(2) To provide for the disposition of property, child
support, and child custody.

(3) To provide for separation agreements.

(4) To provide for a temporary legal separation.

SECTION 7. IC 31-15-2-3 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]:

Sec. 3. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b),
dissolution of marriage shall be decreed upon a finding by a court of one (1)
of the following grounds and no other ground:

(1) Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

(2) The conviction of either of the parties, subsequent to the marriage,
of a felony.

(3) Impotence existing at the time of the marriage.

(4) Incurable insanity of either party for a period of at least two (2)
years.

(b) Dissolution of a marriage declared to be a covenant marriage under
IC 31-11-4.5 shall be granted only upon a finding by a court of one (1) of
the following grounds:

(1) The nonpetitioning spouse has:

(A) committed adultery;

(B) committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole;

(C) abandoned the marital residence for at least one (1) year and
refuses to return; or

(D) physically or sexually abused the petitioning spouse or any child.


(2) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously
without reconciliation for at least:

(A) two (2) years; or

(B) one (1) year from the date a judgment of legal separation was
signed.

SECTION 8. IC 31-15-2-5 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]:

Sec. 5. A petition for dissolution of marriage must:

(1) be verified; and

(2) set forth the following:

(A) The residence of each party and the length of residence in the state
and county.

(B) The date of the marriage.

(C) The date on which the parties separated.

(D) The name, age, and address of:

(i) any living child less than twenty-one (21) years of age; and

(ii) any incapacitated child;

of the marriage and whether the wife is pregnant.

(E) The grounds for dissolution of the marriage.

(F) The relief sought.

(G) If applicable, a statement that the marriage has been declared a
covenant marriage.

SECTION 9. IC 31-15-3-4 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]: Sec. 4. A proceeding for legal separation is commenced by the
filing of a petition entitled, "In Re the legal separation of _________ and
_________". The petition must:

(1) be verified; and

(2) set forth the following:

(A) The residence of each party and the length of residence in the state
and county.

(B) The date of the marriage.

(C) The date on which the parties separated.

(D) The names, ages, and addresses of:

(i) any living child less than twenty-one (21) years of age; and

(ii) any incapacitated child;

of the marriage and whether the wife is pregnant.

(E) The grounds for legal separation.

(F) The relief sought.

(G) If applicable, a statement that the marriage has been declared a
covenant marriage.

SECTION 10. IC 31-15-3-9 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]: Sec. 9. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), in an
action for legal separation under section 2 of this chapter, the court may
grant a decree for a separation of the parties to the marriage for a period
not to exceed one (1) year if the court finds that:

(1) conditions in or circumstances of the marriage make it currently
intolerable for both parties to live together;

(2) the marriage should be maintained; and

(3) neither party has filed a petition or counter petition for dissolution
of marriage under IC 31-15-2 (or IC 31-1-11.5 before its repeal).

(b) A court may grant a decree for a legal separation of the parties
to a covenant marriage for a period not to exceed one (1) year if the court
finds that:

(1) the nonpetitioning spouse has:

(A) committed adultery;

(B) committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole;

(C) abandoned the marital residence for at least one (1) year and
refuses to return; or

(D) physically or sexually abused the petitioning spouse or any child;


(2) the spouses have been living separate and apart continuously
without reconciliation for at least two (2) years; or

(3) the nonpetitioning spouse has exhibited habitual intemperance,
excesses, cruel treatment, or outrages of such a nature as to render the
parties' continued living together unsupportable.

SECTION 11. IC 31-15-4-9 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON
PASSAGE]: Sec. 9. The court may require the parties to seek counseling for
themselves or for a child of the parties under such terms and conditions that
the court considers appropriate if:

(1) either party makes a motion for counseling in an effort to improve
conditions of their marriage;

(2) a party, the child of the parties, the child's guardian ad litem or
court appointed special advocate, or the court makes a motion for counseling
for the child; or

(3) the court makes a motion for counseling for parties who:

(A) are the parents of a child less than eighteen (18) years of
age; or

(B) have declared the marriage to be a covenant marriage.

SECTION 12. [EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE] The state department of health
shall develop, before July 1, 2002, an informational pamphlet entitled
"Covenant Marriage Law" (IC 31-11-4-18), which outlines in sufficient detail
the consequences of entering into a covenant marriage. The state department
of health shall make this informational pamphlet available upon request to
any priest, minister, rabbi, clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, a
clergyman of any religious sect, or a marriage counselor who provides
marriage counseling as provided for by this act.

SECTION 13. An emergency is declared for this act.

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