Arizona Covenant Marriage Law of 1998


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ARIZONA 43RD LEGISLATURE -- SECOND REGULAR SESSION

SENATE BILL 1133, Passed by both houses and Approved by the Governor May 21, 1998

SYNOPSIS: AN ACT AMENDING TITLE 25, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES, BY ADDING CHAPTER 7; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION; RELATING TO MARRIAGE.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

*1 Section 1. Title 25, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding chapter 7, to read:

Chapter 7 covenant marriage

Article 1. general provisions

25-901. Covenant marriage; declaration of intent; filing requirements

A. PERSONS WHO HAVE THE LEGAL CAPACITY TO MARRY PURSUANT TO THIS TITLE MAY ENTER INTO A COVENANT MARRIAGE BY DECLARING THEIR INTENT TO DO SO ON THEIR APPLICATION FOR A LICENSE OBTAINED PURSUANT TO SECTION 25-121 AND BY COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS CHAPTER. THE MARRIAGE LICENSE SHALL BE RECORDED AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 25-123 WITH AN INDICATION THAT THE MARRIAGE IS A COVENANT MARRIAGE.

B. A DECLARATION OF INTENT TO ENTER INTO A COVENANT MARRIAGE SHALL CONTAIN ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. THE FOLLOWING WRITTEN STATEMENT:

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 FOR AS LONG AS THEY BOTH 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 ARIZONA 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 MEMBER OF THE CLERGY OR FROM A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR. PREMARITAL COUNSELING SHALL INCLUDE 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 OF MARRIAGE OR LEGAL SEPARATION.

3. THE SIGNATURES OF BOTH PARTIES WITNESSED BY A COURT CLERK.

C. A NOTARIZED ATTESTATION THAT IS SIGNED BY THE CLERGY OR COUNSELOR MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH THE APPLICATION FOR A LICENSE AND CONFIRM THAT THE PARTIES WERE COUNSELED AS TO THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE MARRIAGE AND THE GROUNDS FOR ITS TERMINATION AND THAT THE COUNSELOR PROVIDED TO THE PARTIES THE INFORMATIONAL PAMPHLET DEVELOPED BY THE SUPREME COURT PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER.
25-902. Existing marriages; conversion to covenant marriage; recording requirements

A HUSBAND AND WIFE MAY ENTER INTO A COVENANT MARRIAGE BY RECORDING THE DECLARATION PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 25-901, SUBSECTION B AND A CERTIFIED COPY OF THEIR ORIGINAL MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE WITH THE CLERK OF THE SUPERIOR COURT AND PAYING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE FEE AS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 12-284, SUBSECTION A. A HUSBAND AND WIFE APPLYING FOR A COVENANT MARRIAGE LICENSE UNDER THIS SECTION NEED NOT RECEIVE PREMARITAL COUNSELING REQUIRED BY SECTION 25-901.

25-903. Dissolution of a covenant marriage; grounds

NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW TO THE CONTRARY, IF A HUSBAND AND WIFE HAVE ENTERED INTO A COVENANT MARRIAGE PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER THE COURT SHALL NOT ENTER A DECREE OF DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 3, ARTICLE 2 OF THIS TITLE UNLESS IT FINDS ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS COMMITTED ADULTERY.

2. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS COMMITTED A FELONY AND HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH OR IMPRISONMENT IN ANY FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY.

3. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS ABANDONED THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR BEFORE THE PETITIONER FILED FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE AND REFUSES TO RETURN. A PARTY MAY FILE A PETITION BASED ON THIS GROUND BY ALLEGING THAT THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS LEFT THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE AND IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN ABSENT FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD. IF THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS NOT ABANDONED THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE PETITION, THE ACTION SHALL NOT BE DISMISSED FOR FAILURE TO STATE SUFFICIENT GROUNDS AND THE ACTION SHALL BE STAYED FOR THE PERIOD OF TIME REMAINING TO MEET THE GROUNDS BASED ON ABANDONMENT, EXCEPT THAT THE COURT MAY ENTER AND ENFORCE TEMPORARY ORDERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 25-315 DURING THE TIME THAT THE ACTION IS PENDING.

4. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS PHYSICALLY OR SEXUALLY ABUSED THE SPOUSE SEEKING THE DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE, A CHILD, A RELATIVE OF EITHER SPOUSE PERMANENTLY LIVING IN THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE OR HAS COMMITTED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 13-3601 OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE.

5. THE SPOUSES HAVE BEEN LIVING SEPARATE AND APART CONTINUOUSLY WITHOUT RECONCILIATION FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS BEFORE THE PETITIONER FILED FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE. A PARTY MAY FILE A PETITION BASED ON THIS GROUND BY ALLEGING THAT IT IS EXPECTED THAT THE PARTIES WILL BE LIVING SEPARATE AND APART FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD. IF THE PARTIES HAVE NOT BEEN SEPARATED FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE PETITION, THE ACTION SHALL NOT BE DISMISSED FOR FAILURE TO STATE SUFFICIENT GROUNDS AND THE ACTION SHALL BE STAYED FOR THE PERIOD OF TIME REMAINING TO MEET THE GROUNDS BASED ON SEPARATION, EXCEPT THAT THE COURT MAY ENTER AND ENFORCE TEMPORARY ORDERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 25-315 DURING THE TIME THAT THE ACTION IS PENDING.

6. THE SPOUSES HAVE BEEN LIVING SEPARATE AND APART CONTINUOUSLY WITHOUT RECONCILIATION FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE THE DECREE OF LEGAL SEPARATION WAS ENTERED.

7. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS HABITUALLY ABUSED DRUGS OR ALCOHOL.

8. THE HUSBAND AND WIFE BOTH AGREE TO A DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE.

25-904. Decree of legal separation; grounds

NOTWITHSTANDING ANY LAW TO THE CONTRARY, IF A HUSBAND AND WIFE HAVE ENTERED INTO A COVENANT MARRIAGE PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER THE COURT SHALL NOT ENTER A DECREE OF LEGAL SEPARATION PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 3, ARTICLE 2 OF THIS TITLE UNLESS IT FINDS ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS COMMITTED ADULTERY.

2. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS COMMITTED A FELONY AND HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH OR IMPRISONMENT IN ANY FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY.

3. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS ABANDONED THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR BEFORE THE PETITIONER FILED FOR LEGAL SEPARATION AND REFUSES TO RETURN. A PARTY MAY FILE A PETITION BASED ON THIS GROUND BY ALLEGING THAT THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS LEFT THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE AND IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN ABSENT FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD. IF THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS NOT ABANDONED THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF PETITION, THE ACTION SHALL NOT BE DISMISSED FOR FAILURE TO STATE SUFFICIENT GROUNDS AND THE ACTION SHALL BE STAYED FOR THE PERIOD OF TIME REMAINING TO MEET THE GROUNDS BASED ON ABANDONMENT, EXCEPT THAT THE COURT MAY ENTER AND ENFORCE TEMPORARY ORDERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 25-315 DURING THE TIME THAT THE ACTION IS PENDING.

4. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS PHYSICALLY OR SEXUALLY ABUSED THE PETITIONER, A CHILD, A RELATIVE OF EITHER SPOUSE PERMANENTLY LIVING IN THE MATRIMONIAL DOMICILE OR HAS COMMITTED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 13-3601 OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE.

5. THE SPOUSES HAVE BEEN LIVING SEPARATE AND APART CONTINUOUSLY WITHOUT RECONCILIATION FOR AT LEAST TWO YEARS BEFORE THE PETITIONER FILED FOR LEGAL SEPARATION. A PARTY MAY FILE A PETITION BASED ON THIS GROUND BY ALLEGING THAT IT IS EXPECTED THAT THE PARTIES WILL BE LIVING SEPARATE AND APART FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD. IF THE PARTIES HAVE NOT BEEN SEPARATED FOR THE REQUIRED PERIOD AT THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE PETITION, THE ACTION SHALL NOT BE DISMISSED FOR FAILURE TO STATE SUFFICIENT GROUNDS AND THE ACTION SHALL BE STAYED FOR THE PERIOD OF TIME REMAINING TO MEET THE GROUNDS BASED ON SEPARATION, EXCEPT THAT THE COURT MAY ENTER AND ENFORCE TEMPORARY ORDERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 25-315 DURING THE TIME THAT THE ACTION IS PENDING.

6. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE'S HABITUAL INTEMPERANCE OR ILL TREATMENT OF THE OTHER SPOUSE IS OF SUCH A NATURE AS TO RENDER THEIR LIVING TOGETHER INSUPPORTABLE.

7. THE RESPONDENT SPOUSE HAS HABITUALLY ABUSED DRUGS OR ALCOHOL.

25-905. Temporary orders for support and spousal maintenance

A HUSBAND OR WIFE MAY FILE A PETITION FOR LEGAL SEPARATION OR A PETITION FOR DISSOLUTION OF COVENANT MARRIAGE AT ANY TIME. THE COURT MAY ENTER TEMPORARY ORDERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 25-315 AT ANY TIME AFTER A PETITION FOR LEGAL SEPARATION OR A PETITION FOR DISSOLUTION HAS BEEN FILED PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER.

25-906. Information pamphlet; requirements; distribution

A. THE SUPREME COURT SHALL PUBLISH A PAMPHLET ENTITLED "COVENANT MARRIAGE IN ARIZONA". THE PAMPHLET SHALL DESCRIBE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTERING INTO A COVENANT MARRIAGE PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER AND THE GROUNDS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN A DECREE OF DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE OR A LEGAL SEPARATION.

B. THE SUPREME COURT SHALL PROVIDE THE PAMPHLET ON REQUEST TO ANY PERSON WHO PROVIDES COUNSELING PURSUANT TO THIS CHAPTER.

*2 Sec. 2. Appropriation

The sum of $10,000 is appropriated from the state general fund to the administrative office of the courts for fiscal year 1998-1999 for the purpose of implementing section 25-905, Arizona Revised Statutes.

HISTORY: Approved by the Governor on May 21, 1998

SPONSOR: Petersen

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