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Duty of Clerk Issuing Marriage License

To get a marriage license, you must go to the office of the clerk of a town or city in New York state and complete application. Both parties must be present and sign the application and a fee must paid. Some states still require that those wishing to get married take a blood test and have a physical exam, New York does not. The law does require that the clerk who issues a marriage license give the couple a warning about rubella disease, Thalassemia Trait, and other inherited disorders. If you have concerns about legal issues related to getting married or that have developed during your marriage, contact an experienced New York family lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have the knowledge and resources to handle your family-related legal matters with skill and sensitivity.

Rubella Warning

Rubella, also called German measles, is a contagious viral infection that is best known by its distinctive red rash. It can spread through direct contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected person. It can also spread through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes the body to have less hemoglobin than normal. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, pale or yellowish skin, facial bone deformities, slow growth, dark urine, abdominal swelling.

According to NY Dom Rel Law § 13-d, the clerk who issues a couple of marriage license, has the duty to present the couple with information about rubella, thalassemia, and other inherited disorders. The warning must include the following the details about rubella:

  • That rubella is usually not serious to children who contract it, but the consequences to unborn babies can be tragic if transmitted to pregnant women.
  • That rubella infection poses a grave threat to the unborn child. It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, deafness, blindness, congenital heart disease, mental retardation, muscular defects, and bone defects.
  • That in order to be immune to rubella, you must receive the rubella vaccine or you must have actually had the disease.
  • That in order to see whether you are susceptible to rubella, you can get a blood test from your doctor.

The rubella warning must urge the couple to take steps to prevent the tragic effects of rubella in order to protect themselves, their family, and their friends.

The law is less specific about information required for other inherited disorders, but the law does state that the clerk has the duty to provide applicants for marriage such informtion.

Related Statutory Provisions
  1. Marriage licenses: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 13
  2. Time within which marriage may be solemnized: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 13-b
  3. Town and city clerks to issue marriage licenses; form: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 14
  4. Town and city clerks to issue certificates of marriage registration; form: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 14-a
  5. Duty of town and city clerks: New York Domestic Relations Law, section 15
Domestic Relations Law, section 13-d: Duty of clerk issuing marriage license

1. It shall be the duty of each town and each city clerk or duly authorized deputy acting in the clerk's stead, upon the issuance of a marriage license to display to the parties a typed or printed statement containing substantially the same following information:

“Rubella, also known as ‘German measles’, is a common childhood disease. It is usually not serious to children who contract it themselves, but can be a tragic crippler of unborn babies if transmitted to pregnant women.

Rubella infection poses a grave threat to the unborn child, especially during the first four months of pregnancy. It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or one or all of the tragic defects such as deafness, blindness, crippling congenital heart disease, mental retardation and muscular and bone defects.

In order to be immune to rubella, one must either receive the rubella vaccine or actually have had the disease. To see whether you are susceptible to rubella, you can get a blood test from your doctor. Even more important is the availability of a rubella vaccine which will prevent you from ever contracting the disease.

In order to protect yourself, your family, and your friends, please take steps to prevent the tragic effects of rubella. Please contact your family doctor, health care provider, public health facility or clinic for further information.”

2. It shall also be the duty of each town and city clerk or duly authorized deputy acting in the clerk's stead to provide to each applicant for a marriage license information regarding the Thalassemia Trait. The department of health shall prepare information, including but not limited to, the blood disorder Thalassemia Trait and other inherited conditions affecting the population of New York state.

3. No cause of action for damages shall arise in favor of any person or person yet to be born by reason of any failure to comply with the provisions of this section.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are facing a family related legal issue, it is important that you contact an experienced New York family lawyer right away. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have over 20 years of experience representing clients with complicated legal matters. Whether your case involves a divorce, child custody or child support dispute, or any other family matter, we can help ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Queens, Suffolk County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Westchester County.

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