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What is the Domestic Relations Law in New York State?

The New York Code is a grouping of New York State laws. Each topic is a Chapter. These groupings range from highway laws to New York State Senate rules. Some laws are specific to New York City, such as the New York City Criminal Laws. One very important chapter is the Domestic Relations Law. This chapter, which has sixteen articles deals primarily with divorce and family court. Perhaps the best known Domestic Relations Law is Article 13 Section 236. As this law is at the heart of divorce and family law, it will be discussed in a future blog. The following provides a brief overview of the articles to the Domestic Relations Law.

  • Article 1 is short. It simply says this chapter of the New York Code is called the Domestic Relations Law and defines a minor.
  • Article 2 defines an incestuous marriage and also explains what a “voidable” marriage is.
  • Article 3 defines civil marriages and discusses how records must be kept. It outlines the duty of town and city clerks. It also defines religious marriages.
  • Article 4 is called, Certain Liabilities and Rights of Husbands of Wife.” One of these rights is to receive life insurance money in the event that a husband or wife passes away.
  • Article 5 deals with matters related to paternity and even children born by artificial insemination.
  • Article 5-A explains child custody laws and their enforcement.
  • Article 6 is all about guardians.
  • Article 7 governs adoptions, including adoption agencies.
  • Article 8 is a set of laws about surrogate parenting.
  • Article 9 explains annulments. Annulments cancel a marriage in a different way than divorce and are typically based upon marriage fraud.
  • Article 10 reviews laws for divorce proceedings.
  • Article 11 reviews laws for separations (as opposed to divorces).
  • Article 11-A is an extension of Article 11 and discusses special circumstances.
  • Article 12 explains what happens to your marriage if your spouse is absent.
  • Article 13 explains how different divorce and family law matters intersect and contains the famous Section 236.
  • Article 14 is currently nonexistent.
  • Article 15, the final article, discusses how an article can be repealed.

If you are seeking a divorce or have a pending family law matter, then you should work with an experienced and qualified attorney. Jayson Lutzky is a true family law expert. Over the past 34 years, he has represented many highly satisfied clients. He handles cases in the New York City area and offers free in-office initial consultations.