2001 New Mexico HB 733 - Covenant Marriage


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2001 New Mexico House Bill No. 733

INTRODUCED BY
Lorenzo A. Larranaga

VERSION: Introduced
February 13, 2001

RELATING TO MARRIAGE; CREATING A COVENANT MARRIAGE FOR CERTAIN COUPLES;
LIMITING THE GROUNDS ON WHICH A COURT MAY GRANT A SEPARATION OR DIVORCE;
ENACTING SECTIONS OF THE NMSA 1978.


TEXT:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:

Section 1. SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Covenant Marriage
Act".

Section 2. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Covenant Marriage Act:

A. "covenant marriage" means a lawful marriage between a man and a woman
who have formally agreed to the provisions of the Covenant Marriage Act;

B. "marriage counselor" means a person who by training or experience is
qualified to work with individuals considering marriage or married couples to
provide premarital or marital counseling; and

C. "married couple" means a man and a woman who have entered into a lawful
marriage.

Section 3. COVENANT MARRIAGE -- REQUIREMENTS.--

A. A man and a woman who wish to enter into a covenant marriage shall:

(1) sign a statement that reads exactly as follows:

"A COVENANT MARRIAGE -- We solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant
between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife as
long as they both shall live. We have chosen each other carefully and have
received premarital counseling on the nature, purposes and responsibilities
of marriage. 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 declare that our marriage will
be bound by New Mexico 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) provide a signed and sworn statement that they have received
premarital counseling from a member of the clergy or a marriage counselor,
provided that the premarital counseling included:

(a) advisement that a covenant marriage is for life;

(b) discussion of the seriousness of a covenant marriage;

(c) notification of the requirement to seek marriage counseling if marital
difficulties develop;

(d) notification of the limited legal grounds available for ending the
marriage by legal separation or divorce; and

(e) a copy of a pamphlet describing the requirements of a covenant
marriage; and

(3) provide a sworn, notarized statement from a member of the clergy or
marriage counselor who provided the premarital counseling confirming that the
man and woman were advised about the nature and purpose of a covenant
marriage and the limited reasons for ending the marriage by legal separation
or divorce and that a copy of a covenant marriage pamphlet was given to the
man and woman.

B. Before a county clerk issues a marriage license to a man and a woman
wishing to enter into a covenant marriage, the county clerk must certify that
the requirements in Subsection A of this section have been met.

C. A married couple that wishes to convert its marriage to a covenant
marriage shall provide the county clerk with:

(1) a written statement exactly as that provided in Paragraph (1) of
Subsection A of this section signed by the married couple; and

(2) a sworn statement listing the names and social security numbers of the
married couple and the date and place of their lawful marriage.

Section 4. COVENANT MARRIAGE -- DISSOLUTION.--No legal separation or
divorce shall be granted in the state to a married couple in a covenant
marriage unless:

A. the spouse against whom a petition for divorce is filed has committed
adultery;

B. the spouse against whom a petition for divorce is filed has been
convicted of a felony and has been sentenced to imprisonment or to death;

C. the spouse against whom a petition for divorce is filed has been absent
from or has abandoned the home where the married couple resided and refuses
to return;

D. the spouse against whom a petition for divorce is filed has:

(1) physically or sexually abused the other spouse, a child or a relative
of either spouse who lives permanently in the married couple's home; or

(2) committed domestic violence; or

E. the married couple has been granted a legal separation by the court and
has been living separate and apart without reunification for at least one
year from the date of legal separation.

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