State Policies to Promote Marriage. Preliminary Report.. Table 5: Marriage and Relationship Preparation and Education


State Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults Marriage Education-Adults State Funding for Marriage Preparation and Support Re-marriage waiting period (a, b)
Alabama       Law. 60 days. Section 30-2-10 (Code 1907, §3811; Code 1923, §7425; Code 1940, T. 34, §38.) Source:
Alaska Bill. HB270 introduced in May 1997 and later died in committee. It proposed a minimum of 4 hours of relationship counseling in 6-months immediately preceding application for marriage license; this would reduce the license fee by $275 (to $25); Source: Dawn Cassidy, National Council on Family Relations. Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Arizona Bill. SB1409 (1997). Died in committee. Increases the total cost for a marriage license from $33.80 to $98.80. Allows applicants for a marriage license to pay a reduced fee of $33.80 if they complete premarital counseling classes. Source:


Law. State is funding a number of marriage preparation and support initiatives, such as the Marriage and Communication Skills Program (Program), vouchers for marriage skills training and a marriage handbook. Source: legtext/44leg/2r/summary/s.2199fs_final.doc.htm, Law. HB2199 bill signed by governor on 04/28/00. Marriage Skills Program. Appropriates approximately $1million from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant in FY 2000-2001 to the Department of Economic Security (DES) for a variety of marriage-related activities (see Marriage Education, adults).  
California   Bill. AB3130 (1993). Failed the Assembly. Informational brochure should be provided to couples applying for a marriage license. The proposal would require the Judicial Council to create a pamphlet describing the legal rights and responsibilities related to marriage, which would be distributed by the County Clerk to couples applying for a marriage license. Source: marriage.html#26    
Connecticut   Bill. HB5404 introduced in January 1997. Marriage license applicants under 30 years of age and applicants who have never been married before must participate in at least 10 hours of premarital counseling before they can obtain a license. Did not pass. Source:    
Florida (1) Law. 1998 Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act. Florida Sec. 741.0305. License fee reduction (37%) for participation in marriage education. Source:
. (2) Law. Florida Sec. 741.0305. Couples must take a 4-hour class or wait three days before obtaining license. Source:
Couples given handbook prepared by Bar Association informing of rights and responsibilities under FL law; must sign statement that book read. Source: mcmanusflorida.html. Also see Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Illinois Bill. SB24 passes in the Senate in April 5, 2001 and sent to House. Couples that don't get four hours of marriage education would have to wait 60 days for their license. The plan gives exceptions to couples over age 55. It also would not apply to someone pregnant or suffering from a catastrophic illness, SB24 now goes to the House. Source: imstran.exe?LIBSINCWSB0024 Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Indiana   Law. S.B. 303, 109th Leg., 2d Sess. (Ind. 1996). Bill passed that would require premarital counseling. Source:    
Iowa (1) Bill. Died in committee. House bill HF599 introduced in March 2001, would establish premarital education that, if completed, would lower the cost of a marriage license application from $70 to $5. Source:

(2) Bill. SF2106 and SA5093 (2002). The bill would encourage pre-marital education by lowering the marriage license fee for those that get pre-marital education/counseling and raising the fees and lengthening the waiting period to 30 days for those that choose not to get education/counseling. The current marriage license: $35 fee/3 day wait. Proposed license with premarital education/counseling: $20/3-day wait. Proposed marriage license without education/counseling: $50 /30 days wait. Source:
Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Kansas   Bill. Senate Bill 320 (1998). Failed in Senate. No clerk or judge shall issue a marriage license to a man and woman until they complete a program in premarital counseling conducted by a licensed professional or an official representative of a religious in-institution or have paid the fee as provided in subsection. Source:
Maryland (1) Law. Family Law ( 2-404.1 ). HB20 proposed in 2001 passed in House and Senate in April 2001 (previously vetoed in 1999) to discount marriage license if couple completes a premarital preparation course. Source:
(2) Bill. HB601 from 1996 and HB1253 from 1997. Both failed in House. Requires that a qualifying premarital course be no less than 4 hours. Source:
Law. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Michigan (1) Bill. HB4631 (1997) was proposed that would require those applying for a marriage license to complete pre-marital counseling; non-compliance would result in a longer waiting period. Died in committee. Source:
(2) Bill. HB5164 (2001). Requires premarriage program or longer waiting period as prerequisites for issuance of a marriage license. Source:
(3) Bill. HB5153 and HB5165 (2001). Provides a tax credit for couples that participate in a qualified marriage education, enrichment or preservation program. Source:
  From funds appropriated in part 1 for emp. and training support svcs, the family independence agency may expend up to $250,000.00 in TANF to fund a marriage initiative. The dept. may choose providers to work with counties that support and strengthen marriages of those eligible under the TANF guidelines. Areas of work may include, but are not limited to, marital counseling, domestic violence counseling, family counseling, effective communication, and anger mgmt as well as parenting skills to improve the family structure." Source:
Minnesota Law. As of August 2001, $50 license fee reduction for attending 12-hour premarital education course including communications and conflict management skills. Previous attempt in 2000 vetoed by governor because it was viewed as intrusive into people's lives. The current bill was passed because unlike the previous one it was part of larger appropriations bill. Source: Law. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Mississippi   Law. S.B. 2558, 1996 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1996). Bill requiring premarital counseling passed. Source:    
New Hampshire        
New Jersey        
New Mexico Bill. SB491 introduced in 2001 that would give people who complete premarital preparation courses a $100 tax credit. Died in committee. Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
New York        
North Carolina        
North Dakota        
Oklahoma Law. Added by Laws 1999, H.B. 1180 c. 174. § 2, effective November 01,1999. Completion of premarital counseling reduces marriage license fee from $25.00 to $5.00; Source:
2000 marriage initiative offers relationship skills workshops to unmarried and married couples. Workshops for unmarried ones aim to help them make wiser marriage choices. Source: Theodora Ooms Testimony. Also see Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults. Governor Keating announced on March 21, 2000 that he would be using $10 million in federal welfare block-grant funds to encourage healthy, stable marriages as a means of reducing divorce, out-of-wedlock births. Source:
Law. 6 months. Statute 43-3. Source:
Rhode Island        
South Carolina        
South Dakota Bill. HB1266 (2000). Proposed a marriage fee reduction if couples complete a premarital course. Source: 2000/bills/HB1266HST.htm Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Tennessee Bill. Bill HB1334/SB0899 (2000) would waive an added $62.50 license fee that finances a plan to educate divorcing parents about the effects of divorce if they attend a premarital preparation course. Source: Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Texas   Law. See State Funding for Marriage Preparation and Support Law. In 1999, the Governor signed Bill HB2442 increasing the marriage license fee by $5 to create a premarital education manual to be distributed to all marrying couples and to fund new premarital and marital education research. Source:
Law. Section § 6.801 (Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 7, § 1, eff. April 17, 1997) 30 days. Source: texas.htm
Utah   (1) One of the Governor's Commission on Marriage's projects is development of a 24-minute video for couples anticipating marriage or re-marriage. Source: (2) Bill. HB58 (1999). Failed in House. Amending the premarital counseling statute to provide for the county governing bodies to provide premarital education before the issuance of a marriage license. Source:
In 2001, Governor's Commission on Marriage received $600,000 in TANF funds to help strengthen marriages. Funded projects include videos for couples marrying, counseling and other services for fragile families, a marriage enrichment web site, and activities during marriage week. Source:  
Virginia   Bill. Died in committee (2001). Would require people to go through eight hours of premarital counseling before obtaining a marriage certificate. Source:    
West Virginia        
Wisconsin   Bill. Bill AB-574 (2000). Requiring premarital counseling to obtain a marriage license. Source: (1) Law. Act 9 (1999). In 2000, the legislature designated $210,000 in unspent TANF funds to create the Community Marriage Policy Project to coordinate and assist local members of clergy to develop community-wide standards for marriage. Source:

(2) In November 1999, House Speaker Scott Jensen was successful in enacting a full-time position within the state to work on establishing Community Marriage Policies as part of the program. Source:

Law. Statute, Chapter 765.03(2). 1971 c. 220; 1977 c. 8, 83, 203; 1979 c. 32 s. 48; Stats. 1979 s. 765.03. 6 months. Source:
(a) Re-marriage waiting period: Law requires a minimum waiting period from the date divorce is granted prior to filing for re-marriage.
(b) A blank box in the Re-marriage waiting period column denotes that no re-marriage period exists in that state.