Marriage Education Legislation
Model For Marriage Education Legislation
Covenant Marriage Legislation
Louisiana's Covenant Marriage
Arkansas' Covenant Marriage Law
Arizona's Covenant Marriage
Model Legislation: Statutory Obligations of Marriage
Model Marriage Obligations Statute (drafted as if for Minnesota)
Statutory Obligations of Marriage, Louisiana statute
Tort of Intentional Interference (Adultery)
Model Legislation: Tort of Intentional Interference (Adultery)

 

Arkansas' Covenant Marriage Law

        9-11-801. Title

    This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Covenant Marriage Act of 2001."

        9-11-802. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) "Authorized counseling" means marital counseling provided by:

      (A) (i) A priest;

        (ii) A minister;

        (iii) A rabbi;

        (iv) A clerk of the Religious Society of Friends;

        (v) Any clergy member of any religious sect or a designated representative;

      (B) A marriage educator approved by the person who will perform the marriage ceremony; or

      (C) As defined by   17-27-102:

        (i) A licensed professional counselor,

        (ii) A licensed associate counselor,

        (iii) A licensed marriage and family therapist,

        (iv) A licensed clinical psychologist, or

        (v) A licensed associate marriage and family therapist; and

    (2) "Judicial separation" means a judicial proceeding pursuant to   9-11-809 which results in a court determination that the parties to a covenant marriage live separate and apart.

        9-11-803. Covenant marriage

    (a)(1) A covenant marriage is a marriage entered into by one (1) male and one (1) female who understand and agree that the marriage between them is a lifelong relationship.

      (2) Parties to a covenant marriage will have received authorized counseling emphasizing the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage.

      (3) Only when there has been a complete and total breach of the marital covenant commitment may a party seek a declaration that the marriage is no longer legally recognized.

    (b)(1) A man and a woman may contract a covenant marriage by declaring their intent to do so on their application for a marriage license as otherwise required under this chapter and executing a declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage as provided in   9-11-804.

      (2) The application for a marriage license and the declaration of intent shall be filed with the official who issues the marriage license.

        9-11-804. Content of declaration of intent

    (a) A declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage shall contain all of the following:

      (1) A recitation signed by both 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 which could adversely affect the decision to enter into this marriage. We have received authorized counseling on the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage. We have read the Covenant Marriage Act of 2001, 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 Arkansas 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)(A) An affidavit by the parties that they have received authorized counseling, which 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 divorce.

      (B) An attestation, signed by the counselor and attached to or included in the parties' affidavit, confirming that the parties received authorized counseling as to the nature and purpose of the marriage and the grounds for termination of the marriage and an acknowledgment that the counselor provided to the parties the informational pamphlet developed and promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Courts under this subchapter that provides a full explanation of the terms and conditions of a covenant marriage; and

    (3)(A) The signature of both parties witnessed by a notary; and

      (B) If one (1) of the parties is a minor, or both are minors, the written consent or authorization of those persons required under this chapter to consent to or authorize the marriage of minors.

    (b) The declaration shall consist of two (2) separate documents:

      (1) The recitation as set out in subdivision (a)(1) of this section; and

      (2) The affidavit with the attestation either included within or attached to the document.

    (c) The recitation, affidavit, and attestation shall be filed as provided in 9-11-803(b).

        9-11-805. Form of affidavit

The following is the suggested form of the affidavit which may be used by the parties, notary, and counselor:

STATE OF ARKANSAS

COUNTY OF __________

BE IT KNOWN THAT on this __________ day of __________, __________, before me the undersigned notary, personally came and appeared:

__________ and __________

who after being duly sworn by me, a Notary, deposed and stated that:

Affiants acknowledge that they have received premarital counseling from a priest, minister, rabbi, clerk of the Religious Society of Friends, any clergyman of any religious sect, or a professional marriage counselor, which marriage counseling included:

A discussion of the seriousness of Covenant Marriage;

Communication of the fact that a Covenant Marriage is a commitment for life;

The obligation of a Covenant Marriage to take reasonable efforts to preserve the marriage if marital difficulties arise; and

That affiants both read the pamphlet entitled "Covenant Marriage Act" developed and promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Courts, which provides a full explanation of a Covenant Marriage, including the obligation to seek marital counseling in times of marital difficulties and the exclusive grounds for legally terminating a Covenant Marriage by divorce or divorce after a judgment of separation from bed or board.

__________

(Name of prospective spouse)

__________

(Name of prospective spouse)

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE ME THIS DAY OF

_______________, __________.

__________

NOTARY PUBLIC

ATTESTATION

The undersigned attests that the affiants did receive counseling from me as to the nature and purpose of marriage, which included a discussion of the seriousness of Covenant Marriage, communication of the fact that a Covenant Marriage is for life, and the obligation of a Covenant Marriage to take reasonable efforts to preserve the marriage if marital difficulties arise.

    __________
    Counselor

 

        9-11-806. Other applicable rules

A covenant marriage shall be governed by all of the provisions of this title, except as otherwise specifically provided in this subchapter.

        9-11-807. Applicability to already married couples

(a) A married couple, upon submission of a copy of its marriage certificate, which need not be certified, may execute a declaration of intent to designate its marriage as a covenant marriage to be governed by this subchapter.

(b) This declaration of intent in the form and containing the contents required by subsection (c) of this section must be filed with the officer who issues marriage licenses in the county in which the couple is domiciled.

(c)(1) A declaration of intent to redesignate a marriage as a covenant marriage shall contain all of the following:

    (A) A recitation by the parties as set out in   9-11-804;

    (B) An affidavit by the parties as set out in   9-11-805 that they have discussed their intent to designate their marriage as a covenant marriage with an authorized counselor which included a discussion of the obligation to seek marital counseling in times of marital difficulties and the exclusive grounds for legally terminating a covenant marriage by divorce;

    (C) An attestation signed by the counselor and attached to the parties' affidavit acknowledging that the counselor provided to the parties the informational pamphlet developed and promulgated by the Administrative Office of the Courts under this subchapter that provides a full explanation of the terms and conditions of a covenant marriage; and

    (D) The signature of both parties witnessed by a notary.

(2)(A) The declaration shall contain two (2) separate documents:

    (i) The recitation; and

    (ii) The affidavit with the attestation either included within or attached to the document.

(B) The recitation, affidavit, and attestation shall be filed as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

 

        9-11-808. Divorce or separation

(a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary and subsequent to the parties' obtaining authorized counseling, a spouse to a covenant marriage may obtain a judgment of divorce only upon proof of any of the following:

    (1) The other spouse has committed adultery;

    (2) The other spouse has committed a felony or other infamous crime;

    (3) The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one (1) of the spouses;

    (4) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two (2) years; or

    (5)(A) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two (2) years from the date the judgment of judicial separation was signed; or

      (B)(i) 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 two (2) years and six (6) months from the date the judgment of judicial separation was signed.

        (ii) However, if abuse of a child of the marriage or a child of one (1) of the spouses is the basis for which the judgment of judicial separation was obtained, then a judgment of divorce may be obtained if the spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of one (1) year from the date the judgment of judicial separation was signed.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary and subsequent to the parties' obtaining authorized counseling, a spouse to a covenant marriage may obtain a judgment of judicial separation only upon proof of any of the following:

    (1) The other spouse has committed adultery;

    (2) The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment;

    (3) The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking the legal separation or divorce or a child of one (1) of the spouses;

    (4) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of two (2) years; or

    (5) The other spouse shall:

      (A) Be addicted to habitual drunkenness for one (1) year;

      (B) Be guilty of such cruel and barbarous treatment as to endanger the life of the other; or

      (C) Offer such indignities to the person of the other as shall render his or her condition intolerable.

 

        9-11-809. Suit against spouse--Separation

(a) Unless judicially separated, spouses in a covenant marriage may not sue each other except for causes of action:

    (1) Pertaining to contracts;

    (2) For restitution of separate property;

    (3) For judicial separation in covenant marriages;

    (4) For divorce or for declaration of nullity of the marriage; and

    (5) 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.

(b)(1) Any court which is competent to preside over divorce proceedings has jurisdiction of an action for judicial separation or divorce in a covenant marriage if:

      (A) One (1) or both of the spouses are domiciled in this state and the ground for judicial separation or divorce in a covenant marriage was committed or occurred in this state or while the matrimonial domicile was in this state; or

      (B) The ground therefore occurred elsewhere while either or both of the spouses were domiciled elsewhere, provided the person obtaining the judicial 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.

    (2) An action for a judicial 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.

    (3) The venue provided in this section may not be waived, and a judgment of separation rendered by a court of improper venue is an absolute nullity.

(c) Judgments on the pleadings and summary judgments shall not be granted in any action for judicial separation in a covenant marriage.

(d) In a proceeding for a judicial separation in a covenant marriage or thereafter, a court may award a spouse all incidental relief afforded in a proceeding for divorce, including, but not limited to, spousal support, claims for contributions to education, child custody, visitation rights, child support, injunctive relief, and possession and use of a family residence or joint property.

 

        9-11-810. Effects of separation

(a) Judicial separation in a covenant marriage does not dissolve the bond of matrimony since the separated husband and wife are not at liberty to marry again, but it puts an end to their conjugal cohabitation and to the common concerns which existed between them.

(b) Spouses who are judicially separated in a covenant marriage shall retain that status until either reconciliation or divorce.

 

        9-11-811. Informational pamphlet

(a) The Administrative Office of the Courts shall promulgate an informational pamphlet, entitled "Covenant Marriage Act of 2001," which shall outline in sufficient detail the consequences of entering into a covenant marriage.

(b) The informational pamphlet shall be made available to any counselor who provides authorized counseling as provided for by this subchapter.

 

        9-11-202. License form

(a) The license may be in the following form [tk is the form of this license below correct? What do A.B. etc mean?]:

    State of Arkansas,

    County of ..........

    To any person authorized by law to solemnize marriage:

    You are hereby commanded to solemnize the rites and publish the banns of matrimony between A.B., age .......... years, and D.C., age .......... years, according to law, officially sign and return this license to the parties herein named.

    Witness my hand and official seal, this .......... day of ...................., 20..........

    [L.S.]

    ...................................

                                         A.B., County Clerk.

(b) The party solemnizing the rites of matrimony shall endorse on the license his certificate of that fact in the following form:

    State of Arkansas,   )
                                   )  ss
    County of ..........     )

    I, A.B., do hereby certify that on the .......... day of ....................., 20.........., I did duly, and according to law as commanded in the foregoing license, solemnize the rites and publish the banns of matrimony between the parties herein named.

    Witness my hand this .......... day of .........., 20..........

    ...................................

                                         A.B., Justice of the Peace.

(Or insert whatever title the party has, as minister, etc.)

(c) If the parties intend to contract a covenant marriage, the application for a marriage license must also include the following statement completed by at least one (1) of the two (2) parties:

    "We [insert name of spouse] and [insert name of spouse] declare our intent to contract a Covenant Marriage and accordingly have executed the attached declaration of intent."

 

        9-11-215. Ceremony

(a) When marriages are solemnized by a minister of the gospel or priest, the ceremony shall be according to the forms and customs of the church or society to which he or she belongs. When solemnized by a civil officer, the form observed shall be the one the officer deems most appropriate.

(b) It shall be lawful for religious societies who reject formal ceremonies to join together in marriage persons who are members of the society according to the forms, customs, or rites of the society to which they belong, with the exception that the requirements set forth in the Covenant Marriage Act of 2001,   9-11-801 et seq., shall be complied with if the parties enter into a covenant marriage.

 

        9-11-220. Records and certificate

(a) Upon the return of any license officially signed as having been executed and that the parties therein named have been duly and according to law joined in marriage, the clerk issuing the license shall make a record thereof in the marriage record in his or her office.

(b) The clerk shall immediately make out a certificate of the record, giving the names, date, book, and page, together with the name of the county and state, and attach the certificate to the license and return the license to the party presenting it.

(c) The certificate shall be signed officially by the clerk and sealed with the county seal.

(d) The circuit clerks in counties having two (2) judicial districts shall keep a record at the county site of each district in which marriage licenses shall be recorded.

(e)(1) If a license has been returned and recorded by the clerk that contains clerical or scrivener's errors, the licensee may submit proof of the error to the circuit court in an ex parte proceeding.

    (2) The court, upon a finding of error, shall order the county clerk to correct the errors on the license.

    (3) The licensee shall not be charged a fee for filing a request to correct clerical or scrivener's errors.

(f) On the face of the certificate shall appear the certification to the fact of marriage, including, if applicable, a designation that the parties entered into a covenant marriage signed by the parties to the marriage and the witnesses, and the signature and title of the officiant.

 

      9-12-301. Grounds for divorce

(a) A plaintiff who is seeking to dissolve and set aside a covenant marriage shall state in his or her petition for divorce that he or she is seeking to dissolve a covenant marriage as authorized under the Covenant Marriage Act of 2001,   9-11-801 et seq.

(b) The circuit court shall have power to dissolve and set aside a marriage contract, not only from bed and board, but from the bonds of matrimony, for the following causes:

    (1) Where either party, at the time of the contract, was and still is impotent;

    (2) Where either party shall be convicted of a felony or other infamous crime;

    (3) Where either party shall be addicted to habitual drunkenness for one (1) year, shall be guilty of such cruel and barbarous treatment as to endanger the life of the other, or shall offer such indignities to the person of the other as shall render his or her condition intolerable;

    (4) Where either party shall have committed adultery subsequent to the marriage;

    (5) Where husband and wife have lived separate and apart from each other for eighteen (18) continuous months without cohabitation, the court shall grant an absolute decree of divorce at the suit of either party, whether the separation was the voluntary act of one party or by the mutual consent of both parties or due to the fault of either party or both parties;

    (6)(A) In all cases where a husband and wife have lived separate and apart for three (3) consecutive years without cohabitation by reason of the incurable insanity of one of them, the court shall grant a decree of absolute divorce upon the petition of the sane spouse if the proof shows that the insane spouse has been committed to an institution for the care and treatment of the insane for three (3) or more years prior to the filing of the suit, been adjudged to be of unsound mind by a court of competent jurisdiction, and has not been discharged from such adjudication by such court and the proof of insanity is supported by the evidence of two (2) reputable physicians familiar with the mental condition of the spouse, one of whom shall be a regularly practicing physician in the community wherein such spouse resided and, where the insane spouse has been confined in an institution for the care and treatment of the insane, that the proof in the case is supported by the evidence of the superintendent or one (1) of the physicians of the institution wherein the insane spouse has been confined;

      (B) In all decrees granted under this subdivision (6), the court shall require the plaintiff to provide for the care and maintenance of the insane defendant so long as he or she may live.  The trial court will retain jurisdiction of the parties and the cause from term to term for the purpose of making such further orders as equity may require to enforce the provisions of the decree requiring plaintiff to furnish funds for such care and maintenance;

      (C) Service of process upon an insane spouse shall be had by service of process upon the duly appointed, qualified, and acting guardian of the insane spouse or upon a duly appointed guardian ad litem for the insane spouse, and where the insane spouse is confined in an institution for the care of the insane, upon the superintendent or physician in charge of the institution wherein the insane spouse is at the time confined. However, where the insane spouse is not confined in an institution, service of process upon the duly appointed, qualified, and acting guardian of the insane spouse, or duly appointed guardian ad litem and thereafter personal service or constructive service on an insane defendant by publication of warning order for four (4) weeks shall be sufficient;

    (7) Where either spouse legally obligated to support the other, and having the ability to provide the other with the common necessaries of life, willfully fails to do so.

 

        9-12-324. Decree dissolving a covenant marriage

    <Text of section enacted by Acts of 2005, Act 1890, 2, eff. Aug. 12, 2005. See also version enacted by Acts of 2005, Act 182, 1, eff. Aug. 12, 2005, ante.>

In all divorce decrees that dissolve a covenant marriage created under the Covenant Marriage Act of 2001,   9-11-801 et seq., the court shall enter a finding that the marriage being dissolved is a covenant marriage.