Bill Text: NH HB1661 | 2018 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relative to the protection of minors who petition the court to marry.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2017-11-13 - To Be Introduced 01/03/2018 and referred to Children and Family Law [HB1661 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2018-HB1661-Introduced.html

HB 1661 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2018 SESSION

18-2681

05/04

 

HOUSE BILL 1661

 

AN ACT relative to the protection of minors who petition the court to marry.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Gourgue, Straf. 25; Rep. Cilley, Straf. 4; Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21

 

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill:

 

I.  Requires a minor who petitions the court to marry to file the petition in his or her own name.

 

II.  Requires the town clerk to provide the minor with a list of social services resources.

 

III.  Requires the court to hold an evidentiary hearing before granting permission for the marriage and to consider information from a guardian ad litem and the department of health and human services.

 

IV.  Establishes one waiting period between the date the petition is filed and the date of judicial approval and a second waiting period between the date the license is issued and the date the marriage is solemnized.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

18-2681

05/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen

 

AN ACT relative to the protection of minors who petition the court to marry.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Marriage; Petition by Party Under Age.  Amend RSA 457:6 to read as follows:

457:6  Petition by Party Under Age.  

I.  If special cause exists rendering desirable the marriage of a person resident in this state, or the marriage of a person who is a nonresident in this state who applies for permission to marry a resident in this state, either person being below the age of consent and above the ages specified in RSA 457:4, the parties desiring to contract such marriage[, with the parent or guardian having the custody of such party below such age, if there be such parent or guardian,] may apply in writing to the judicial branch family division having jurisdiction in the location in which one of them resides, for permission to contract such marriage.  Any minor who files a petition under this section shall file the petition in his or her name.  No waiver shall be granted to persons below the age of consent if both parties are nonresidents.  

II.  Each petition shall indicate whether, to the minor's knowledge, the department of health and human services, bureau of child protection services has contacted or been involved with the minor's family.  

III.  The clerk shall provide the minor, at the time of filing, with a list of referrals to local service providers and state and national confidential hotlines.  The department of health and human services shall provide each town clerk with the list required under this paragraph.

2  Granting of Permission.  RSA 457:7 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

457:7  Granting of Permission.

I.  Upon receipt of a petition under RSA 457:6, the court shall schedule a hearing in accordance with the requirements of this section.  Such hearing shall be held no later than 60 days from the date the petition was filed.  The purpose of the hearing shall be to allow the court to gather sufficient evidence to determine whether special cause exists making such marriage desirable and whether the marriage is in the best interest of the minor based on an assessment of the following factors:  the maturity of the parties, the mental and physical health of the parties, and whether both parties are marrying willingly, without force, fraud, coercion, or duress.  Neither pregnancy nor parental consent shall be given preference in support of determining that marriage is in the best interest of the minor.  There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the marriage is not in the best interest of the minor.

II.  To aid the court in making its decision, the court shall:

(a)  Conduct an in-camera interview of the minor, without the minor's parent or guardian or the other party to the marriage present.   

(b)  Join the department of health and human services as a party to the proceeding and request that a child protective services worker conduct an investigation that includes an interview of the minor and a visit to the minor's home to assess whether the minor is acting without force, fraud, coercion, or duress.

(c)  Consider whether the marriage would endanger the minor, taking into account the results of a search of both parties' criminal history, a search for both parties' order of protection history, and  the results of a search for both parties on the national and state sex-offender registries.

(d)  Appoint a guardian ad litem trained in domestic violence and forced marriage.  No later than 15 days before the evidentiary hearing, the guardian ad litem shall submit a report that includes a detailed statement of why the minor is petitioning to marry and the guardian ad litem's recommendation as to whether the marriage is in the best interests of the minor.

III.  If the court determines that special cause exists making such marriage desirable and that the marriage is in the best interests of the minor, the court shall grant permission therefor, provided that the court shall require a 90-day waiting period between the date the petition was filed and the date of the order granting approval.

IV.  The court shall forward a copy of the order granting permission for permission for the marriage to the division of vital records.

3  Marriage License; Waiting Period.  Amend RSA 457:26 to read as follows:

457:26 Marriage License.

I.  The town clerk shall deliver to the parties a marriage license embodying the facts required in RSA 457:22, specifying the time when the application was entered, which license shall be delivered to the minister or magistrate who is to officiate, before the marriage is solemnized.  The license shall be valid for not more than 90 days from the date of filing; except as otherwise provided in paragraph II.

II.  If either party to the marriage is a minor, the marriage license shall be valid for a period of not less than 30 days and not more than 90 days from the date of filing.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2019.

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