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

09/01/2002

State Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults Marriage Education-Adults State Funding for Marriage Preparation and Support Re-marriage waiting period a/ b/
Notes:
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.
Table Sources:
  • Cassidy, Dawn. National Council of Family Relations. Correspondence with author. September 19, 2001.
Alabama       Law. 60 days. Section 30-2-10 (Code 1907, §3811; Code 1923, §7425; Code 1940, T. 34, §38.) Source: http://alisdb.legislature.state.al.us/
acas/ACASLogin.asp
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 (died)    
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: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/

 

 

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: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/
legtext/44leg/2r/summary/
s.2199fs_final.doc.htm
; http://www.divorcereform.org/
arimps.html
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).  
Arkansas        
California Bill. Senate Bill 1479 (2002). Currently on the Senate floor would permit counties to discount the marriage license fee for couples who complete a premarital education course. Source: http://www.senate.ca.gov. 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: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#26
. Also see Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults.
   
Colorado        
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: http://www.divorcereform.org/cct.html    
Delaware        
DC        
Florida (1) Law. 1998 Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act. Florida Sec. 741.0305. License fee reduction (37%) for participation in marriage education. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
movement.nytimes.html
.

(2) Law. Florida Sec. 741.0305. Couples must take a 4-hour class or wait three days before obtaining license. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
movement.nytimes.html
;

Couples given handbook prepared by Bar Association informing of rights and responsibilities under FL law; must sign statement that book read. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
mcmanusflorida.html
. Also see Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults
   
Georgia        
Hawaii        
Idaho        
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: http://www.legis.state.il.us/scripts/
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: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#fn21
   
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: http://www.legis.state.ia.us/GA/79GA/
Legislation/HF/00500/
HF00599/Current.html

(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: http://www.legis.state.ia.us/

Two Bills. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults (one died)    
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: http://www.accesskansas.org/
legislative/fulltext/bills.cgi/bill/1998/320.html
   
Kentucky        
Louisiana        
Maine        
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: http://mlis.state.md.us/2001rs/
billfile/HB0020.htm

(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: http://mlis.state.md.us/

Law. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Massachusetts        
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: http://www.divorcereform.org/mic.html.

(2) Bill. HB5164 (2001). Requires premarriage program or longer waiting period as prerequisites for issuance of a marriage license. Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/

Bill. HB5153 and HB5165 (2001). Provides a tax credit for couples that participate in a qualified marriage education, enrichment or preservation program. Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org. See also Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults. 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: http://archives.his.com/smartmarriages/
msg01567.html
 
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: http://archives.his.com/smartmarriages/
msg01505.html
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: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#III.A.(2)
   
Missouri        
Montana        
Nebraska        
Nevada        
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. http://legis.state.nm.us Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults (died)    
New York        
North Carolina        
North Dakota        
Ohio        
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: http://www.oscn.net/applications/
oscn/deliverdocument.asp?citeID=104402
.
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: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
tanf.oklahoma.html
Law. 6 months. Statute 43-3. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/okla.htm
Oregon        
Pennsylvania        
Rhode Island        
South Carolina        
South Dakota Bill. HB1266 (2000). Proposed a marriage fee reduction if couples complete a premarital course. Source: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/
2000/bills/HB1266HST.htm
Bill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults    
Tennessee Law. Bill HB1334/SB0899 (Originally passed in 2001, amended in 2002) imposes an added $62.50 license fee. The fee would divided with proceeds used to help finance the education of divorcing parents about the effects of divorce, child abuse prevention services, domestic violence prevention services, and to build the capacity of the statewide disability community to offer services to families and children with disabilities. $60 of this fee is waived if couples attend a premarital preparation course. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
tennessee.html
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: http://archives.his.com/smartmarriages/
msg00797.html
Law. Section § 6.801 (Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 7, § 1, eff. April 17, 1997) 30 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/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: http://www.smartmarriages.com (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: http://www.le.state.ut.us/~1999/
htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0058S1.htm
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: http://www.smartmarriages.org  
Vermont        
Virginia   Bill. Died in committee (2001). Would require people to go through eight hours of premarital counseling before obtaining a marriage certificate. Source: http://leg1.state.va.us/    
Washington        
West Virginia        
Wisconsin   Bill. Bill AB-574 (2000). Requiring premarital counseling to obtain a marriage license. Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.us (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: http://www.marriagemovement.org/
html/report.html
.

(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: http://www.empowermentnetwork.com/
policy/gov1.htm

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: http://www.co.portage.wi.us/
marriage.htm
Wyoming