The Domestic Relations Law is part of New York’s legal code. This part is often abbreviated, DRL. The DRL is composed of sixteen articles. These articles form the backbone of New York’s laws on marriage, divorce and family law. A summary of each article of the DRL follows.

Article 1

The article gives the short title of the act but most importantly defines who a minor or infant is. It states that any person less than the age of eighteen will be a minor or infant for the purposes of this act.

Article 2

It declares incestuous marriage as well as marriage while the spouse from previous marriage (not dissolved) is alive as void and prescribes punishment for the same. It also lays down the criteria for a voidable marriage while declaring that marriage after divorce is valid.

Article 3

The section defines and deals with the entire nature, procedural requirements and duties of various public authorities in solemnization of marriage. It also prescribes the penalty for the breach of these mandatory procedural requirements.

Article 4

The article defines the rights and liabilities of the husband and wife. It talks about property, insurance and domicile related rights. Most importantly, it says that pardoning of a person sentenced for imprisonment will not restore his marriage related rights.

Article 5

This article talks about the custody related aspects. It talks about special proceedings in matters of habeas corpus involving custody of the child and declares children born legally through artificial insemination as legitimate and natural child of the husband and wife.

Article 5-A

The article talks about the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It discusses jurisdiction of the court.

Article 6

Article 6 talks about the right of the guardians and their liability. It prescribes the process of appointing a guardian, his/her duties and liabilities in regard of the minor or his property. It also talks about the role of guardian when the minor is married.

Article 7

This article talks about the procedure pertaining to adoption and the rights of the parents thereof. It prescribes the eligibility and other pre-requisites before adopting a child including the consent aspect.

Article 8

This article deals with surrogate parenting contracts and the related aspects thereof. It enumerates the rights of the stakeholders involves and prescribes penalties for the breaches thereof. It mentions the concept of public policy too.

Article 9

This article deals with the procedure related to annulment of marriage or the notion of rendering it void. It talks about the standard of proof and conclusiveness of the judgment.

Article 10

This section will be helpful in case you wish to initiate an action for divorce. It addresses the issues of legitimacy of the children, the right of jury trial and inclusion as co-respondents.

Article 11

This article deals with the procedure and commencement of action for separation. It allows any one of the husband or wife to commence action for separation forever or for temporary period.

Article 11-A

This article contains special provisions relating to divorce and separation. It prescribes the limitations placed on actions for divorce and separation. It also mentions the entire procedure related to pleadings, proof and motions.

Article 12

This article deals with the issue of dissolution of marriage on ground of absence or disappearance. It prescribes the notion and procedure for special proceedings in this regard to secure dissolution of the marriage.

Article 13

This article contains provisions applicable to more than one type of matrimonial action. It contains all the procedural and substantive requirements including but not limited to; notice, counsel fee, custody and child support orders.

Article 15

This section is a general section which deals with the laws repealed with the promulgation of this act and provides that this chapter of the act will take effect immediately.

Jayson Lutzky is an attorney with over 31 years of legal experience. He has handled many cases that involved the DRL. He represents clients in uncontested divorces, contested divorces, child support cases, child custody cases, visitation cases and spousal support cases. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person consultations. To set up a confidential appointment, call 718-514-6619. Visit to learn more about divorce law and Mr. Lutzky.

The DRL was summarized based on the law’s text, available at