Oregon Covenant Marriage bill 1999


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70th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--1999 Regular Session
From http://www.leg.state.or.us/99reg/measures/sb1200.dir/sb1215.int.html
NOTE: Matter within { + braces and plus signs + } in an
amended section is new. Matter within { - braces and minus
signs - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within
{ + braces and plus signs + } .

LC 3968

Senate Bill 1215

Sponsored by Senators SHANNON, STARR, Representative STARR;
Senators FISHER, GEORGE, QUTUB


SUMMARY

The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the
measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to
consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's
brief statement of the essential features of the measure as
introduced.

Permits covenant marriages. Establishes procedures to enter
into covenant marriage and exclusive means to terminate covenant
marriage.

A BILL FOR AN ACT
Relating to domestic relations.
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon: + }
SECTION 1. { + (1) A covenant marriage is a marriage entered
into by one male and one female who understand and agree that the
marriage between them is a lifelong relationship. Parties to a
covenant marriage shall receive counseling emphasizing the
nature, purposes and responsibilities of marriage. Only when
there has been a complete breach of the marital covenant
commitment may the nonbreaching party seek a declaration that the
marriage is no longer legally recognized.
(2) A man and woman may contract a covenant marriage by
declaring their intent to do so on their application for a
marriage license as provided in ORS 106.041 and executing a
declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage as provided
in section 2 of this 1999 Act. The application for a marriage
license and the declaration of intent shall be filed with the
county clerk who issues the marriage license. + }
SECTION 2. { + (1) A declaration of intent to contract a
covenant marriage shall contain all of the following:
(a) A recitation by the parties to the following effect: + }
_________________________________________________________________

{ +
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 Act, 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 Oregon 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. + }
_________________________________________________________________

{ + (b)(A) An affidavit by the parties that they have
received premarital counseling from a priest, minister, rabbi,
any clergyman of any religious sect or a marriage counselor, and
the counseling included 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 legally terminating a
covenant marriage by dissolution or by dissolution after a
judgment of separation.
(B) 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 thereof and an
acknowledging that the counselor provided to the parties the
informational pamphlet, entitled the Covenant Marriage Act,
developed and promulgated by the Attorney General.
(c)(A) The signature of both parties witnessed by a notary.
(B) If one or both of the parties are persons under 18 years of
age, the written consent or authorization of those persons
required under ORS 106.060 to consent to or authorize the
marriage of persons under 18 years of age.
(2) The declaration shall contain two separate documents, the
recitation and the affidavit. The affidavit shall include the
attestation. The recitation shall be prepared in duplicate
originals, one of which shall be retained by the parties and the
other, together with the affidavit and attestation, shall be
filed with the county clerk who issues the marriage license. + }
SECTION 3. { + (1) Married couples may execute a declaration
of intent to designate their marriage as a covenant marriage to
be governed by sections 1 to 6 of this 1999 Act.
(2) A declaration of intent containing the contents and in the
form required by subsection (3) of this section must be presented
to the county clerk who issued the couple's marriage license and
with whom the couple's marriage certificate is filed. If the
couple was married outside of this state, a copy of the foreign
marriage certificate, with the declaration of intent attached
thereto, shall be filed with the county clerk who issues marriage
licenses in the county in which the couple is domiciled. The
county clerk shall make a notation on the marriage certificate of
the declaration of intent of a covenant marriage and attach a
copy of the declaration to the certificate. The county clerk
shall record the declaration of intent in the record of marriages
under ORS 106.180.
(3)(a) A declaration of intent to designate a marriage as a
covenant marriage shall contain all of the following:
(A) A recitation by the parties to the following effect: + }
_________________________________________________________________

{ +
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, purpose and responsibilities of marriage. We have read
the Covenant Marriage Act, 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 Oregon law on covenant
marriage, and we renew our promise of love, honor and care for
one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.
_________________________________________________________________

(B)(i) An affidavit by the parties that they have discussed
their intent to designate their marriage as a covenant marriage
with a priest, minister, rabbi, any clergyman of any religious
sect or a marriage counselor, and the discussion covered the
obligation to seek marital counseling in times of marital
difficulties and the exclusive grounds for legally terminating a
covenant marriage by dissolution or by dissolution after a
judgment of separation.
(ii) A notarized attestation, signed by the counselor and
attached to the parties' affidavit, acknowledging that the
counselor provided to the parties the information pamphlet,
entitled the Covenant Marriage Act, developed and promulgated by
the Attorney General.
(iii) The signature of both parties witnessed by a notary.
(b) The declaration shall contain two separate documents, the
recitation and the affidavit. The affidavit shall include the
attestation. The recitation shall be prepared in duplicate
originals, one of which shall be retained by the parties and the
other, together with the affidavit and attestation, shall be
filed as provided in subsection (2) of this section. + }
SECTION 4. { + (1) Notwithstanding ORS 107.025 and 107.036,
after the parties have obtained counseling, a spouse to a
covenant marriage may obtain a judgment of dissolution only upon
proof of any of the following:
(a) The other spouse has committed adultery;
(b) The other spouse has committed a felony and has been
sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor;
(c) The other spouse has abandoned the matrimonial domicile for
a period of one year and constantly refuses to return;
(d) The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the
spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses;
(e) The spouses have been living separate and apart
continuously without reconciliation for a period of two years; or
(f)(A) The spouses have been living separate and apart
continuously without reconciliation for a period of one year from
the date the judgment of separation was signed; or
(B) If there is a minor child or children of the marriage, the
spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without
reconciliation for a period of one year and six months from the
date the judgment of separation was signed. However, if abuse of
a child of the marriage or a child of one of the spouses is the
basis for which the judgment of separation was obtained, then a
judgment of dissolution may be obtained if the spouses have been
living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for
a period of one year from the date the judgment of separation was
signed.
(2) Notwithstanding ORS 107.025 and 107.036, after the parties
have obtained counseling, a spouse to a covenant marriage may
obtain a judgment of separation only upon proof of any of the
following:
(a) The other spouse has committed adultery;
(b) The other spouse has committed a felony and has been
sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor;
(c) The other spouse has abandoned the matrimonial domicile for
a period of one year and constantly refuses to return;
(d) The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the
spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses;
(e) The spouses have been living separate and apart
continuously without reconciliation for a period of two years; or

(f) Habitual intemperance of the other spouse or excesses,
cruel treatment or outrages of the other spouse, if such habitual
intemperance or such ill-treatment is of such a nature as to
render their living together insupportable. + }
SECTION 5. { + (1) Unless judicially separated, spouses in a
covenant marriage may not sue each other except for causes of
action pertaining to contracts, for restitution of separate
property, for separation in covenant marriages, for dissolution
or for declaration of nullity of the marriage, and for causes of
action pertaining to spousal support or the support or custody of
a child while the spouses are living separate and apart, although
not judicially separated.
(2)(a) Any court that is competent to preside over dissolution
proceedings has jurisdiction of an action for separation in a
covenant marriage if:
(A) One or both of the spouses are domiciled in this state and
the ground therefor was committed or occurred in this state or
while the matrimonial domicile was in this state; or
(B) The ground therefor occurred elsewhere while either or both
of the spouses were domiciled elsewhere, provided the person
obtaining the separation was domiciled in this state prior to the
time the cause of action accrued and is domiciled in this state
at the time the action is filed.
(b) An action for a separation in a covenant marriage shall be
brought in a county where either party is domiciled, or in the
county of the last matrimonial domicile.
(c) The venue provided in this subsection may not be waived and
a judgment of separation rendered by a court of improper venue is
an absolute nullity.
(3) Judgments on the pleadings and summary judgments shall not
be granted in any action for separation in a covenant marriage.
(4) In a proceeding for a separation in a covenant marriage or
thereafter, a court may award a spouse all incidental relief
afforded in a proceeding for dissolution, including but not
limited to spousal support, claims for contributions to
education, child custody, parenting rights, child support,
injunctive relief and possession and use of a family
residence. + }
SECTION 6. { + (1)(a) Separation in a covenant marriage does
not dissolve the marriage, since the separated husband and wife
are not at liberty to marry again. However, the separation puts
an end to their conjugal cohabitation and to the common concerns
that existed between them.
(b) Spouses who are judicially separated in a covenant marriage
shall retain that status until either reconciliation or
dissolution of the marriage.
(2) A judgment of separation carries with it the separation of
goods and effects and is retroactive to the date on which the
original petition was filed in the action. However, the
retroactive effect shall be without prejudice:
(a) To the liability for attorney fees and costs incurred by
the spouses in the action; or
(b) To rights validly acquired in the interim between
commencement of the action and recordation of the judgment. + }
SECTION 7. { + Sections 1 to 6 of this 1999 Act shall be known
and may be cited as the 'Covenant Marriage Act.' + }
SECTION 8. { + The Department of Justice shall, by December
31, 1999, promulgate an informational pamphlet, entitled
'Covenant Marriage Act,' that outlines in sufficient detail the
consequences of entering into a covenant marriage. The
informational pamphlet shall be made available to any counselor
who provides marriage counseling as provided in sections 2 and 3
of this 1999 Act. + }
SECTION 9. ORS 106.041 is amended to read:
106.041. (1) All persons wishing to enter into a marriage
contract shall obtain a license therefor from the county clerk
upon application, directed to any person or religious
organization or congregation authorized by ORS 106.120 to
solemnize marriages, and authorizing such person, organization or
congregation to join together as husband and wife the persons
named in the license.
(2) No license shall be issued by the county clerk until the
provisions of this section, ORS 106.050 and 106.060 are complied
with.
(3) Each applicant for marriage license shall file with the
county clerk from whom the license is sought a written
application for the license on forms provided for this purpose by
the Health Division which shall set forth certain statistical
data regarding age, place of birth, sex, occupation, residence
and previous marital status of the applicant and, if required,
the name and address of the affiant under ORS 106.050.
(4) A license issued after July 13, 1995, must contain the
following statement: 'Neither you nor your spouse is the property
of the other. The laws of the State of Oregon affirm your right
to enter into marriage and at the same time to live within the
marriage free from violence and abuse. '
{ + (5) When persons intend to contract a covenant marriage,
the application for a marriage license shall:
(a) Include the following statement: '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 attached hereto. '
(b) Be accompanied by the declaration of intent for a covenant
marriage, as provided in section 2 of this 1999 Act. + }
SECTION 10. Section 125, chapter 746, Oregon Laws 1997, is
amended to read:
{ + Sec. 125. + } (1) All persons wishing to enter into a
marriage contract shall obtain a license therefor from the county
clerk upon application, directed to any person or religious
organization or congregation authorized by ORS 106.120 to
solemnize marriages, and authorizing such person, organization or
congregation to join together as husband and wife the persons
named in the license.
(2) No license shall be issued by the county clerk until the
provisions of this section, ORS 106.050 and 106.060 are complied
with.
(3) Each applicant for marriage license shall file with the
county clerk from whom the license is sought a written
application for the license on forms provided for this purpose by
the Health Division which shall include the applicant's Social
Security number, certain statistical data regarding age, place of
birth, sex, occupation, residence and previous marital status of
the applicant and, if required, the name and address of the
affiant under ORS 106.050.
(4) A license issued after July 13, 1995, must contain the
following statement: 'Neither you nor your spouse is the property
of the other. The laws of the State of Oregon affirm your right
to enter into marriage and at the same time to live within the
marriage free from violence and abuse. '
{ + (5) When persons intend to contract a covenant marriage,
the application for a marriage license shall:
(a) Include the following statement: '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 attached hereto. '
(b) Be accompanied by the declaration of intent for a covenant
marriage, as provided in section 2 of this 1999 Act. + }
SECTION 11. { + Nothing in the amendments to ORS 106.041 or
section 125, chapter 746, Oregon Laws 1997, by section 9 or 10 of
this 1999 Act affects the operative-in-lieu or repealing
provisions of section 1, chapter 746, Oregon Laws 1997. + }
SECTION 12. ORS 106.077 is amended to read:
106.077. (1) When the county clerk has received the written
application for the marriage license from both applicants, and
all other legal requirements for issuance of the marriage license
have been met, the county clerk shall issue a marriage license
{ - which - } { + that + } shall become effective three days
after the date on which the application was signed by the
applicants. The county clerk shall indicate on the license the
date on which the license becomes effective. A license shall be
valid for 60 days after the effective date. { + The county clerk
shall also indicate on the marriage license whether the
applicants intend to enter into a covenant marriage. + }
(2) For good and sufficient cause shown, a written order
waiving the three-day waiting period provided in subsection (1)
of this section may be signed by:
(a) A judge of probate of the county;
(b) A circuit court judge of the county in which the circuit
court judge is not the judge of probate if the jurisdiction of
the circuit court has been extended to cover this section
{ - pursuant to - } { + under + } ORS 3.275;
(c) A judge of a county court of the county in which the judge
of the county court is not the judge of probate if the circuit
court judge does not reside therein; or
(d) The county clerk or official responsible for issuing the
marriage license.
SECTION 13. ORS 106.165 is amended to read:
106.165. (1) The Assistant Director for Health by rule shall
prescribe a standard form of the marriage certificate to be used
in this state. The certificate shall contain the names and
addresses of the parties and of at least two witnesses, the time
and place of the marriage, the signature of the person who
solemnized the marriage, the date of the license for the marriage
and by whom issued { + and, if applicable, a designation that
the parties entered into a covenant marriage + }.
(2) The form shall be of such size and appearance as to
emphasize the importance of the event { - which - }
{ + that + } it evidences and the significance of the pioneer
heritage of this state.
(3) In carrying out the duties imposed by subsections (1) and
(2) of this section, the assistant director { - for Health - }
shall consult with the county clerks and may authorize a
competition among graphic artists to prepare the form to be
prescribed.
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