October 19, 2006
Digest: A judge who received a sum greater than $75.00 for performing a wedding ceremony should return the excess amount to the parties.*
Rule: Gen. Mun. L. § 805-b; 22 NYCRR 100.2(A).
A judge who officiated at a wedding has discovered that the gratuities the participants tendered exceed the $75.00 limit authorized by state law. Gen. Mun. L. § 805-b. The judge’s records reflect the identities of the parties that tendered the gratuities. The judges asks what, if anything, he/she must do at this point.
A judge is, of course, required to respect and comply with the law, and thus it is the opinion of this Committee that the judge should return the amount in excess of the $75.00 limit. The judge may do so by personal check signed by the judge. 22 NYCRR 100.2(A).
Further, the Committee suggests that the judge maintain a record of the fact that the excess amount has been refunded to the parties.
* Please note that General Municipal Law §805-b has been amended to provide that “no public officer listed in section eleven of the domestic relations law shall be prohibited from accepting any fee or compensation having a value of one hundred dollars or less, whether in the form of money, property, services or entertainment, for the solemnization of a marriage by such public officer at a time and place other than the public officer's normal public place of business, during normal hours of business.” Gen. Mun. L. §805-b (2007)(emphasis added).