Pardon the second e-mail alert today but Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.20 this afternoon. This Executive Order, his twenty-first (21st) one issued during this state of emergency, modifies or suspends certain New York statutes, laws, codes, rules and regulations as well as sets forth a directive, all of which are designed to alleviate issues pertaining to getting married in New York State during the COVID-19 crisis. This Executive Order is effective from April 18, 2020 through May 18, 2020. A copy of Executive Order 202.20 accompanies this e-mail.
- Governor Cuomo has issued an important directive in Executive Order 202.20 designed to resolve challenges couples are facing when trying to get legally married in New York State during the COVID-19 crisis but unable to do so due to social distancing rules. Executive Order 202.20 mandates that any issuance of a marriage license application, marriage license, or witnessing or solemnizing of the marriage ceremony, that is required under New York State law is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that the following conditions are met:
- The couple seeking the marriage services, must present valid photo ID to verify identity whenever required by law the during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
- The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the couple and the town or city clerk, the witness or the person to solemnize the marriage (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing or engaged in the marriage ceremony);
- The couple must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the jurisdiction where the marriage is legally allowed to occur, within the State of New York;
- The couple must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the town or city clerk, the witnesses, the person to solemnize the marriage on the same date it was signed;
- The town or city clerk, witness or person who solemnizes the marriage may sign the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the person responsible for the document by law;
- To the extent practicable, all parties will use their best efforts to ensure the document is transmitted in the most confidential manner and information will not be released to any third party not associated with the marriage license and marriage ceremony; and
- The electronic signed copy of the marriage license application or marriage license will become the official document for purposes of Domestic Relations Law.
- The directive contained in Executive Order 202.20 also provides that local town and city clerks may provide guidance related to how marriage licensure applications and issuance will be implemented in their jurisdictions.
SUPENDED OR MODIFIED LAWS
As in prior executive orders, Executive Order 202.20 also suspends or modifies certain laws, codes, rules and regulations to aid in New York’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis through May 18, 2020. The laws modified or suspended under Executive Order 202.20 focus on issues pertaining to marriages during the crisis. The Executive Order, by modifying or suspending the applicable laws, codes, rules and regulations, to the extent necessary:
- Permits those persons to whom marriage licenses were issued but shall expire within the period of time that New York State residents are to maintain distance between each other, to waive the 60 days required to obtain a marriage license during the period of time that there exists a declared emergency in New York State; and
- Permits those persons who were unable to marry within the time frame issued on the marriage license, waive the fees necessary to obtain a second marriage license, if necessary, mirroring the original marriage license that was obtained during the period of time a declared emergency existed in New York State.
The copy of Executive Order 202.20 that accompanies this e-mail specifically identifies the applicable laws impacted under these provisions.