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State Policies to Promote Marriage

Publication Date
Aug 31, 2002

I. Project Background and Goals

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) authorized the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. PRWORA stated four broad goals for TANF:

  • Provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of their relatives;
  • End the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage;
  • Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and
  • Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

As TANF is being reauthorized in 2002, an important topic of the ongoing discussions is whether the program is meeting the goals set out in PRWORA. To date, assessments of welfare reform have focused primarily on the work-based goals of TANF, documenting states’ efforts to increase work among TANF recipients, and the significant caseload declines that have followed. Less attention has been paid to marriage-related policies. This is due in part to the fact that states faced numerical targets with respect to work participation (i.e., the minimum work participation rates increased from 25 percent of families in 1996 to 50 percent in 2002). In addition, state efforts in the marriage policy area have not been systematically documented. Nonetheless, a number of states are engaged in a variety of activities that support marriage. Some of these focus specifically on TANF populations; others are more broad-based. To help inform the policy discussions, it is important to have a current picture of state-level policies to promote and support marriage.

The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) funded this project to learn about the status of policies to support and promote marriage at the state level. We inventoried policies that were enacted and proposed both prior to PRWORA and after the law’s passage. The project did not examine specific programs operating in localities. Nor did it evaluate policies or make recommendations. This document inventories marriage policies in the 50 states and District of Columbia in 10 broad areas. The matrices in Attachment A provide additional detail.

II. Methodology

This project was designed to be a short-term policy review. Given the time and budget limitations, it utilizes secondary research. We did not conduct a survey or make site visits. Our main research activities included an expert panel meeting, a broad-based Internet search, and follow-up telephone calls to sources. The report was reviewed by a number of members of the expert panel(1) and shared with state governors’ officers. However, it did not undergo systematic review by the states.

Expert Panel Meeting.  Our first task was to determine which policy areas to include in the study. To aid in this effort, The Lewin Group and ASPE convened a panel of marriage policy experts in August 2001 to brainstorm about marriage issues. (A list of panelists is included in Attachment B.) The meeting served two purposes: (1) to discuss potential state policy areas that promote and support marriage that might be examined during the project; (2) to identify potential data sources for state policies that encourage or support marriage. This discussion clarified ASPE’s intent to focus on policies directly affecting marriage, but not on the many policies that may indirectly affect marriage. Following the discussion, ASPE selected 10 topics for inclusion in the study:

  • Campaigns, commissions and proclamations
  • Divorce laws and procedures
  • Marriage and relationship preparation and education
  • State tax policies
  • State cash assistance policies
  • State Medicaid policies
  • State vital statistics
  • Marriage support and promotion
  • Youth education and development
  • Specialty programs

The definition of state policy that is used in this report includes proclamations, commissions, and programmatic initiatives with state-wide effects or implications that are initiated by executive or judicial action or are proposed and/or passed by the state legislature.

Research.  Our primary research tools were published compilations of state laws or proposals by research or advocacy groups, Internet sites, and telephone conversations with experts.

A number of organizations have compiled information about state marriage activities. Expert panelists linked us with documents from their affiliated organizations, including the National Governors’ Association, the American Public Human Services Association, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and the American Bar Association. Our second line of inquiry was a web search. Some sites were recommended by panelists, including Smart Marriages (smartmarriages.com) and Americans for Divorce Reform (divorcereform.org). Additionally, we scanned websites of research organizations involved in social policy, including the Brookings Institution, the Welfare Information Network, the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council and the Alan Guttmacher Institute. We also explored links with interest groups in targeted areas such as fatherhood (e.g., the National Fatherhood Initiative) and abstinence education. Finally, we followed up with telephone calls. Again, the expert panel was a key resource that suggested names and provided comments on specific issues.

What follows is a compilation of state policies, including current statutes and legislation that has been introduced. When available, the status of the bill is included (e.g., passed the House, died in committee). It is important to note that introduction of legislation does not ensure passage. Moreover, passage of a bill does not imply funding to implement the particular policy. These bills are being provided as examples of what states are proposing in the marriage arena and likely do not comprise an exhaustive list of state initiatives.

III. Findings

Exhibits 1 and 2 summarize state activities. Exhibit 1 provides a concise overview of executive, judicial, or legislative action in a number of the policy areas studied for this project. As it demonstrates, states have passed laws or proposed legislation in every area studied for this project. Some states have activities in multiple areas. Arizona, for example, has activities in 12 of the 17 areas listed in the exhibit. Also, state activity is more common in certain areas (e.g., divorce-related policies) than others (e.g., marriage support). Exhibit 2 (at the conclusion of the report) provides a different level of detail. It defines each activity reviewed and lists the states that have initiated or proposed these policies.

A. Campaigns, Commissions, and Proclamations

Our first area of interest is the degree to which state officials publicly focus on marriage-related issues through statewide campaigns, commissions, and proclamations. (See Table 1 of the detailed matrices for specific state policies.) Nine states have undertaken an activity in this area. Three(2) of the nine have enacted or proposed more than one activity in this general topic area. For instance, the Utah Governor established a Commission on Marriage and signed a proclamation.

State campaigns.  These include media projects that extol the virtue of marriage and larger-scale initiatives, such as a statewide effort to curb divorce rates. Campaigns have been undertaken or proposed in four states. Two states (Arkansas and Oklahoma) launched campaigns to reduce the state divorce rate by one-third or more. Additionally, Oklahoma’s initiative created a media campaign to highlight marriage-building skills. Two states (Arizona and New Mexico) proposed media campaigns to promote the societal benefits of marriage, but the bills ultimately failed.

Commissions.  These included “summits” that bring together diverse groups to discuss marriage-strengthening policies and commissions charged with implementing specific policies. Five states have launched commissions.(3) Commission goals were diverse. Arizona established a commission to focus on a specific policy (encouraging community-based organizations to train married couples, or those contemplating marriage, in communication and relationship skills). Others were more general. The South Carolina Attorney General established a commission to develop policies to support marriage and the family. The Utah Governor and First Lady established a commission to focus attention on strengthening marriages and to gather information on best practices. In Louisiana, a council on marriage monitors, develops and evaluates policies and programs to ensure that the government dies not undermine marriage. Michigan proposed a legislative commission on marriage and fatherhood earlier this year.

Proclamations.  Two states issued proclamations recognizing the importance of marriage as a public good (North Carolina, Utah) and one reaffirmed marriage’s special status as the foundation for healthy families (Louisiana). Additionally, Louisiana and Utah proclaimed National Marriage Day (2/14/99) and Marriage Awareness Week (9/15/99), respectively.

Exhibit 1: Overview of Selected Policy Areas

StateCommissions, Campaigns, or ProclamationsCovenant MarriageNo-fault ModificationsMandatory Divorce EducationDifferent Divorce Laws for ParentsIncentives for Marriage PreparationMarriage Education for AdultsState Funding for Marriage SupportState Tax: No or Reduced Marriage Penalty(4)Marriage Incentives, TANFMarriage Support, Home VisitationMarriage Support, CounselingMarriage Support, Fatherhood ProgramsSchool-Based Marriage EducationAbstinence-
until-
Marriage Education
Specialty Programs
Notes:
BC = Bill or policy still under consideration
BNP = Bill or policy that did not pass (e.g., died in committee)
L = Law
X = Policy/program in place
Alabama BNP      LL L  LX
Alaska BNP BNPBNPBNPBNP L       
ArizonaL/BNPLBNPLL/BNPBNPLLL  L BNPBCX
ArkansasXL LL   L      X
California BNPBC BCBCBNP/BC L       
Colorado BNP BNPBNP   L      X
Connecticut   LL BNP L      X
Delaware        L      X
DC        L      X
Florida   LLLL L   XL  
Georgia BCL L         LX
Hawaii   LL   L X   XX
Idaho  BC     L      X
Illinois   LLBCBC L     XX
Indiana BCBNP   L L     XX
Iowa BC LLBNP/BCBNP/BC L     XX
Kansas BNPBC/BNPBNPBNP/BC BNP        X
Kentucky  BNPBNPBNP   L      X
LouisianaXL      L      X
Maine        LL      
Maryland BNP BCBCL/BNPL       XX
Massachusetts  BC     L     XX
MichiganBCBNPBCX/BCX/BCBNP/BCBC/BNPLL  L  XX
Minnesota BCBCLLL/BNPL LL     X
Mississippi BC    L LL/BNP  X X 
Missouri BC XX   L     XX
Montana  BCLL   L     XX
Nebraska BC LL   L     XX
Nevada        L      X
New Hampshire  BNPXX/BNP   L    X X
New Jersey  BNP      L      
New MexicoBNPBC L/BCL/BCBNPBNP      BNP  
New York        L      X
North CarolinaX       L X   LX
North Dakota         L     X
Ohio BC             X
OklahomaXBNP/BC  L/BNPLLL LXL  XX
Oregon BC      L  X  XX
Pennsylvania   BNP/BCBNP/BC   L   XX X
Rhode Island               X
South CarolinaXBNP/BC           XLX
South Dakota     BCBC L    X X
Tennessee BC LLLL LL    LX
Texas BCBNPLL LLL   X  X
UtahX  LL LLL XL BNP X
Vermont   XX          X
Virginia BCBCLL/BC BNP L   X XX
Washington BNPBC BC   LBNP     X
West Virginia BNPBC      L     X
Wisconsin BC BCBC BCLL    BC X
Wyoming        L      X

B. Divorce Laws and Procedures

The second area of interest is whether states have proposed or implemented policies to change divorce laws or procedures. We examined covenant marriage, modifications to no-fault divorce, mandatory education for divorcing couples, waiting periods for divorce, different laws for couples with children, and mediation initiatives. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have at least one activity in this area. (Tables 2 and 3 in the detailed matrices provide information on specific state policies.)

Covenant marriage laws. One area of divorce reform is covenant marriage legislation. Three states have passed such laws: Louisiana (1997),(5) Arizona (1998), and Arkansas (2001). In each state, couples have the choice between regular marriage and covenant marriage. Covenant marriage generally requires pre-marital counseling, signing of a statement of intention to enter into a covenant marriage, and an agreement to seek additional counseling if marital problems surface. Divorce is granted for specified “fault-based” reasons, including adultery, domestic violence, commission of a felony, and alcohol or drug abuse. Couples that seek a divorce based on mutual consent (e.g., no-fault) must wait a specified amount of time (e.g., two years in Louisiana). Twenty-five other states have introduced one or more covenant marriage bills. Bills failed in 11 of these states.(6)

Modifications to no-fault divorce laws. When a party seeks a divorce, he or she must state the ground for divorce. All states offer no-fault divorces in which neither the wife nor the husband blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage. In 13 states, no-fault is the sole ground for divorce. Common bases for no-fault divorces are irreconcilable differences, irretrievable breakdown, or incompatibility. Thirty-nine states also offer fault-based grounds for divorce, including adultery, physical cruelty, desertion, and use of drugs.(7) We found 17 states that addressed one or more modifications to no-fault divorce laws. In one state — Georgia — a law was enacted, while in the others, bills failed or are still under consideration. In Georgia, a no-fault divorce cannot be granted unless both parties agree to the divorce and no children are involved. No-fault modification bills failed in seven states.(8) New Jersey’s bill, for example, would have outlawed no-fault divorce. Indiana would have only allowed no-fault divorces for marriages based on contract licenses (as opposed to covenant licenses). Proposed laws in 10 states would regulate no-fault when a child is involved (e.g., California would require parents to complete a parenting plan) or would require the mutual consent of both parties.(9)

Mandatory education on the effects of divorce. States are also taking steps to educate couples about the effects of divorce on children. Twenty-six states have one or more activities in this area. Nineteen states enacted laws that mandate education for divorcing couples. Generally the focus is on requiring parents (as opposed to couples with no children) to attend an educational program on the effects of divorce on children and to discuss parenting issues. Laws in eight states require all parents to attend a class.(10) In the other 11 states with laws, courts may order participation, with requirements varying by county in some states.(11) An additional nine states have introduced one or more bills. Bills that are still in progress in five states focus on required counseling or education (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin), and distribution of a booklet on options available to couples prior to divorce (New Mexico). Michigan, which already has a voluntary program, is considering legislation that would require a pre-divorce program on the effects of divorce on children. Bills failed in five states.(12) Kansas’ failed bill, for instance, would have required education on the effect of divorce on the child involved, including developmental stages, responses to divorce, symptoms of maladjustment, and education and counseling options for the child.

The presumption of joint legal custody. Research suggests that joint legal custody can help reduce conflict after a divorce, increase the non-custodial parent’s involvement with the children, and increase child support payments relative to non-custodial parents who do not have joint custody.(13) Most jurisdictions (47) have a joint legal custody presumption law on the books.(14) In these cases, the presumption or strong preference is in favor of joint custody. In Delaware, for instance, the statute states: “The father and mother are the joint natural custodians of their minor child and are equally charged with the child’s support, care, nurture, welfare and education. Each has equal powers and duties with respect to such child, and neither has any right or presumption of right or fitness, superior to the right of the other concerning such child’s custody or any other matter affecting the child…Where the parents live apart, the Court may award custody of their minor child to either of them and neither shall benefit from any presumption of being better suited for such award.”(15)

Minimum period before a divorce is granted and residency requirements for a couple seeking a divorce. Minimum waiting periods for divorce or some type of residency requirement are also common. Twenty-two jurisdictions define a minimum period between the date a petition for divorce is filed and the date the court grants a divorce. The period ranges from 20 days (Wyoming) to one year (Vermont). Utah also has additional legislation pending. Legislators attempted to remove a section in the law that exempted couples from a waiting period if they completed an educational course (the bill died).(16) All but two states (Alaska and South Dakota) has a residency requirement before a divorce can be filed. The residency requirement ranges from 30 days (Arkansas) to one year (12 states).(17)

Different laws for couples with children. Finally, 30 states have implemented or considered one or more policies that treat divorcing couples with children differently from those without children (7 states have activities in more than one area). These policies generally are not mutually exclusive from other categories. The most common area is mandating or offering education about the effects of divorce on children. As noted above in the section on mandatory education, 19 states have laws in this area.(18) Nine states proposed legislation.(19) Of the 17 states that passed or are considering modifications to their no-fault divorce laws, 9 nine addressed eliminating no-fault divorce in cases with children (one law passed and eight are proposed).(20) In addition, of the 22 states that define a minimum period between the date a petition for divorce is filed and the date the court grants it, two have longer waiting periods before a divorce is granted to couples with children (Oklahoma and Tennessee). In Oklahoma, there is a 30-day waiting period if minor children are involved (no waiting period for childless couples); in Tennessee, the waiting period is one month longer for couples with children (90 days versus 60 days).

Mediation initiatives. Eight states offer mediation services through the courts.(21) Mediation generally addresses custody and visitation issues. California, Iowa and Wisconsin mandate mediation for custody and visitation disputes. In Kansas, divorce education workshops and dispute resolution is mandated in some counties and offered in others at the judge’s discretion, while in Missouri mediation is available but not required. In the District of Columbia, judges have the option of mandating mediation. In New Mexico, court-ordered marriage clinics provide evaluations of both parents and mediation prior to divorce. In Utah, however, all couples requesting a divorce, regardless of the presence of children, must receive mediation.

C. Marriage and Relationship Preparation and Education

All jurisdictions have some requirements around the issuance of marriage licenses. For example, 10 require a blood test. Twenty-one require a waiting period between the license application date and the receipt of the license (ranging from 24 hours to 5 days). Twenty-five require a waiting period between the license and the ceremony (ranging from 72 hours to 6 days). All jurisdictions have a marriage license fee. (Table 4 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on state marriage laws.) We explored whether states have taken steps to require or encourage couples to participate in marriage and relationship preparation or education activities. Specifically, we examined incentives for marriage preparation, marriage education for adults, state funding for marriage support, and remarriage waiting periods. To some extent, there is overlap between the first two categories. That is, many states proposed or passed policies to decrease marriage license fees or waiting periods for couples who take education courses or receive counseling. If education decreases fees or reduces waiting periods, we include it in the incentive area. If it is mandated for all couples and has no effect on waiting periods or fees, we include it under marriage education. Twenty-two states have passed or introduced legislation in one or more of the listed topic areas. (Table 5 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on state policies.)

Incentives for marriage preparation for adults. Thirteen states have activity in this area.(22) Five of these states have implemented policies. Florida reduced license fees by 37 percent for couples who participate in education; additionally, couples who do not take a four-hour class must wait three days to obtain a license. Tennessee waives $60 of a $62.50 add on to the marriage license fee if couples participate in a premarital education course.(23) In Minnesota, there is a $50 fee reduction if the couple takes a 12-hour course that includes communications skills and conflict management. This measure was previously vetoed by the Governor, who argued that it was an intrusion into people’s lives. The second attempt passed in large part because it was not a free-standing initiative but part of a larger appropriations bill. Maryland also enacted a license reduction law, which had been previously vetoed. Oklahoma reduces the fee from $25 to $5 for those who take a course.

Eight other states proposed one or more bills. In five of these states, the bills are still under consideration. Illinois proposed a 60-day waiting period for a license if couples do not take a four-hour class. California proposed legislation permitting counties to discount the marriage license fee if potential couples complete a premarital education course. A Michigan bill would increase the waiting period before a marriage license is issued if couples do not participate in a pre-marital education program. Iowa and South Dakota propose reducing marriage license fees if couples complete some type of pre-marital course.(24) Bills failed in five states. New Mexico proposed a bill to give a $100 tax credit to couples who complete a premarital preparation course (it died in committee). Michigan required a longer waiting period for those who did not complete pre-marital counseling (a similar measure was reintroduced in 2001). Alaska, Arizona, and Iowa (a previous attempt) proposed a license fee reduction for those who take education courses.

Marriage education for adults. Twenty-one states addressed marriage education for adults. These policies generally are not mutually exclusive from other categories. For example, as indicated above, five states offer incentives for couples to participate in marriage education(25) and eight states proposed to do so.(26) In addition to these efforts, 12 states passed or proposed legislation that would require or encourage marriage education.(27) In these instances, education is not tied to an incentive. Two states enacted laws that require premarital counseling (Indiana and Mississippi). A similar bill was introduced in Wisconsin, while bills failed in four states (Connecticut, Kansas, Utah, and Virginia). The Connecticut bill, for instance, required marriage license applicants under age 30 and never married to participate in at least ten hours of counseling before they could obtain a license.

Other policies include the distribution of a handbook to all marrying couples that describes rights and responsibilities (Florida and Texas); a third state (California) did not pass similar legislation. Arizona is funding a Marriage and Community Skills Program, which offers vouchers for marriage skills training, a marriage handbook, and other activities. Oklahoma offers relationship skills workshops to unmarried and married couples that help them build better relationships. Utah developed a video for couples anticipating marriage. Finally, Michigan introduced a bill that would provide a tax credit for couples that participate in marriage education, enrichment, or preservation programs.

State funding for marriage preparation and support. Similar to the concept of personal incentives to participate in premarital education is state funding for marriage and relationship preparation. Six states provide funding in this area. Of these, five are using TANF funds for various preparation activities.(28) Oklahoma is using $10 million in TANF funds for a number of marriage-related activities. Arizona appropriated approximately $1 million in TANF funds for a marriage and communications skills program, vouchers for marriage skills training, and a marriage handbook. Michigan is using $250,000 to pilot an initiative to strengthen and support marriage. Utah is funding videos for couples preparing to marry. Wisconsin designated $210,000 in unspent TANF funds to create the Community Marriage Policy Project, which will coordinate and assist local members of the clergy to develop community-wide standards for marriage. The state also enacted a full-time state-level position to establish community marriage policies. The sixth state, Texas, increased the license fee and earmarked funds to create and distribute a manual for all couples planning to marry.

Remarriage waiting periods. Four states require a certain amount of time to elapse between the date a divorce is granted and filing for remarriage. Oklahoma and Wisconsin each require six months. Alabama requires 60 days, while Texas requires 30 days.

D. State Tax Policies

A number of elements in the tax system can create marriage penalties or bonuses. In the federal tax system, for example, the law generally requires married couples to file taxes jointly based on a combined income.(29) Couples with similar incomes tend to face marriage penalties (i.e., the couple pays more than the combined taxes of two individuals) while those with dissimilar incomes often receive bonuses (i.e., the couple pays less than the combined taxes of two individuals). To the extent that state tax structures mirror the federal one, married couples may face similar penalties or bonuses. We focused on the state Earned Income Tax Credit, the state mechanisms for addressing penalties, and tax thresholds. (Table 6 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on state policies.)

State earned income tax credit (EITC). The federal EITC reduces taxes and provides wage supplements for low-income, working families. It has been part of the federal tax system since 1975. Studies suggest it can reduce poverty and encourage work. Others suggest it can promote marriage by increasing family income. The EITC is based on earnings and presence of children.(30) A family with two children can qualify so long as earnings are under $32,121. The EITC create a marriage penalty or bonus, depending on the employment status of the parents. For example, a penalty would result if one earner easily qualified for the credit but the addition of a second earner to the household through marriage made the family ineligible (or eligible for a reduced credit) because earnings would be combined. This couple would gain financially by not marrying. Conversely, a marriage bonus can exist. A single unemployed mother cannot qualify for the credit; nor could a working male with no children. But through marriage, the couple could qualify for the EITC. Federal legislation in 2001 improved benefits for married couples. Specifically, the income level at which the credit phase-down begins will be increased, resulting in greater credits for married couples than unmarried couples with the same income. Additionally, an increase in the top income level at which a married couple can receive benefits will make more such couples eligible for the credit.(31)

States have also enacted EITCs to reduce the burden of state taxes on working families. Fifteen states have a state EITC.(32) In 14 of the states, it is a percentage of the federal credit, ranging from 5 percent to 32 percent.(33) In Wisconsin, the percentage depends on the number of children (4 percent to 43 percent for one to three children). Thus, to the extent a marriage penalty (or bonus) exists in the federal credit, it will also exist in the state EITC. No state has enacted a change to its EITC that directly addresses the marriage issue.

State marriage penalties. A number of components affect the level of taxable income and, thus, taxes.(34) Consider again the federal tax system. Exemptions, standard deductions, and tax brackets all affect the amount of taxes paid. The first component, exemptions, does not differ by marital status. The standard deduction for an individual, however, is more than half that for a married couple ($4,000 versus $6,700). This creates a penalty when two earners marry (each could have claimed $4,000 if single), but it creates a bonus when one spouse does not work, because the non-working spouse could not have claimed a deduction without income. Tax brackets also create penalties and bonuses. Couples with equal incomes will see a higher proportion of their income taxed at higher rates and thus face a penalty. If couples have unequal incomes, the spouse with the higher income would have been taxed at a higher rate as a single filer, thus might receive a marriage bonus.

Marriage penalties also occur in state taxes if standard deductions for married couples are less than twice the size of deductions for single filers, if tax brackets are not significantly larger for married couples, or if married couples do not have the option of filing separately (thus being taxed as two individuals). Fifteen states have no marriage penalty: Of these, nine states have no state income taxes, so the marriage penalty is not an issue,(35) while six states have a flat tax, regardless of income or filing status.(36) Fifteen states have tax schedules that eliminate or reduce penalties. In eight of these, the tax brackets for married couples are twice as wide as those for single filers, so there is no penalty.(37) In the other seven states, the brackets are wider but not doubled, so a penalty is reduced but not eliminated.(38) Nine states also address the marriage penalty by allowing married couples to use one return but pay taxes on separate income as if they were single.(39) In the remaining 12 states, married couples pay a marriage penalty either because the tax is a percent of the federal liability or joint and single return schedules are similar.(40)

The tax threshold for families. In states that have no mechanism in place to address a possible marriage penalty, the tax threshold can be an issue. If states begin taxing single-parent and married-parent families at the same threshold, the combined income of married couples might push the family over the tax threshold. The income at which families begin paying state taxes varies considerably by state and family structure. As indicated above, families in 12 states face a marriage penalty. Two of these states (New Jersey and West Virginia) have uniform thresholds. Thus, a single parent with two children would begin paying taxes at the same income level as married parents with two children. For example, the tax threshold for a married-parent family of four and a one-parent family of three is the same in New Jersey ($20,000). If a single mother earned $18,000 a year, she would pay no taxes. If she married a man who earned more than $2,000 per year, the family would have to pay state taxes. The other ten states have higher tax thresholds for married-parent families than for single-parent families.(41) The differential ranged from 2 percent in Maryland ($25,200 versus $24,600) to 40 percent in Oklahoma ($13,000 versus $9,300).

E. Cash Assistance Policies

Policy makers and others have suggested that cash assistance programs, particularly Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), can create a disincentive to marriage. Because eligibility for TANF is based on the definition of an “assistance unit” that can include some or all of the family members in a household, the disincentive also can apply to cohabiting two-parent families with or without children in common. There are two issues to consider:

  1. Whether those who are financially eligible are prevented from receiving benefits due to the presence of two parents in the household, and
  2. How assistance units are defined, and income and resources counted, for the purpose of determining eligibility

Under TANF, states have wide flexibility to define who is included or who is excluded from the assistance unit. For example, a state could, if it chose, include a non-custodial parent living elsewhere in the assistance unit, or it could require the needs and income of everyone living together to be one assistance unit, regardless of relationship. Generally, states have not yet used this wide latitude and for the most part have continued practices from the prior Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. State practices fall into three possible scenarios:

  • Two parents living together have children in common. If paternity has been legally established, the incomes of both parents are counted in determining eligibility, regardless of whether the parents are married or cohabiting. The eligibility issue is not marriage per se but legal responsibility to financially support the child.
  • Cohabitors do not have children in common. Under TANF, there are no federal anti-deeming provisions, so it is state policy that determines whether the income of the non-parent/step-parent would be used to determine a child’s eligibility.
  • Cohabitors have some children in common, but not others. Under TANF, all children would be considered part of the same assistance unit and the income of the parent/step-parent would always be counted in determining eligibility.

We explored state changes to eligibility rules for two-parent families, marriage incentives in the TANF program, marriage promotion activities by TANF case workers, and child support arrearage policies. As Table 7 depicts, all but 12 states had an activity in at least one area.(42)

TANF eligibility for two-parent families. The 1996 welfare law gave states flexibility to shape their cash assistance programs, including the populations that could be served. Under the AFDC program, two-parent families faced strict eligibility rules, such as a recent work history test and the “100-hour rule” (the primary wage earner could not work more than 100 hours per month). States can expand TANF coverage to two-parent families by eliminating these rules, which serves to treat one- and two-parent families the same when determining eligibility. Thus, marriage in itself would not disqualify couples from TANF. Thirty-three states now base TANF eligibility solely on financial circumstances.(43)

Marriage incentives in the TANF program. Ten states provide specific marriage incentives to TANF recipients or introduced measures to do so.(44) Four states — Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Oklahoma — disregard all income from a new spouse (biological parent or stepparent) for three to six months. Tennessee disregards the income of a stepparent if it is less than 185 percent of the needs standard for the household, while New Jersey does so if household income does not exceed 150 percent of the poverty line. Maine offers the option to include or exclude stepparents in the TANF assistance unit, while Minnesota includes stepparents as eligible members in a TANF assistance unit. West Virginia adds a $100 incentive payment to the monthly cash benefit to married-couple families.

Mississippi and Washington introduced legislation that would have provided a lump-sum check to those who become disqualified from TANF due to marriage. The bills died in committee. Finally, Oklahoma combines the income of cohabiting couples when determining eligibility for welfare, perhaps discouraging cohabitation.

Marriage promotion in the TANF program. We found one example of state workers actively promoting marriage to the TANF population and other low-income groups. In Oklahoma, state workers are being trained to teach marriage skills and are encouraged to discuss marriage with their clients. According to Jerry Regier, former Secretary of Health and Human Services in Oklahoma, policy makers in seven other states have contacted him to learn about his state’s policy (not shown in matrix).(45)

Child support arrearage forgiveness. States can encourage marriage among unmarried parents by forgiving child support arrearages owed by the non-custodial parent to the state. If a custodial parent was on TANF, the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation would be owed to the state.(46) If the parents reunited, the state could forgive any back support owed. Two states, Tennessee and Vermont, have such policies. Tennessee forgives arrears owed by the father if he marries the mother of his children and continues to live in the household. Vermont forgives child support arrearages owed to the state if the biological parents are reunited.(47)

F. Medical Assistance

Like TANF, there is a concern that Medicaid can create a disincentive to marriage because parents and/or their children are at risk of becoming ineligible for coverage in the event of a marriage. In Medicaid, eligibility is individually determined so any disincentive to marriage applies equally to cohabitating two-parent families with children in common and paternity legally established. With Medicaid, there are at least two issues to consider: (1) whether those who are financially eligible are prevented from receiving benefits due to the presence of two parents in the household, and (2) how assistance units are defined, and income and resources counted, for the purpose of determining eligibility. State practices fall into three possible scenarios:

  • Two parents have children in common. If paternity has been legally established, the incomes of both parents are counted in determining eligibility, regardless of whether the parents are married or cohabiting. The eligibility issue is not marriage per se but legal responsibility to financially support the child.
  • Cohabitors do not have children in common. A federal anti-deeming provision prohibits states from denying benefits to a child based on the income of someone with no legal duty to support the child. Thus, the income of the non-parent is not counted for eligibility purposes, unless the couple marries. In the event of marriage, state family law would determine whether the step-parent was legally responsible for the step-child. If so, the step-parent’s income would be counted in determining the Medicaid eligibility of the step-child and a penalty could occur if the step-parent/new spouse’s income pushed the family over the income limit.
  • Cohabitors have some children in common, but not others. Income for each child would be counted as described in the above scenarios depending on his or her legal relationship to each adult in the household.

We examined whether states effectively place additional requirements on two-parent families applying for Medicaid. We also explored whether states expanded health coverage to serve more two-parent families, and whether states increased the income threshold at which Medicaid is provided to pregnant women. All but nine states had an activity in one or more of these areas.(48) (Table 8 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on state policies.)

Medicaid eligibility for two-parent families. Medicaid provides medical coverage to categorically eligible individuals, including pregnant women, children, low-income elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Prior to the 1996 welfare reform law, families receiving AFDC were automatically eligible for Medicaid. As with welfare, two-parent families faced strict eligibility rules (e.g., recent work history and the 100-hour rule). Following welfare reform, federal policy required states to delink welfare and Medicaid eligibility and create a “family coverage” category, also known as the Section 1931 eligibility group. This includes people who were eligible to receive Medicaid under the old AFDC standard. As noted above, there is concern that the stringent two-parent program rules in Medicaid encouraged single-parent families. However, states can affect Medicaid eligibility for two-parent families in a number of ways. They can eliminate the recent work history and 100-hour rules. They can disregard income and assets, thus expanding Medicaid eligibility by not counting parts of family income. States can also expand eligibility through Section 1115 waivers.

Many states have made it easier for two-parent families to get Medicaid. Thirty-six states base Medicaid eligibility for two-parent families solely on financial circumstances (i.e., the states discarded the recent work history and 100-hour rules and cover two-parent families to the same extent as single parent families).(49)

Seventeen states used Section 1931 Medicaid expansion options to increase income disregards.(50) Some states disregard a flat dollar amount (e.g., Oklahoma disregards $120). Others disregard a fixed percentage of income (e.g., Pennsylvania and Washington each disregard 50 percent). Still others disregard all income between the old AFDC standard and a specified percent of the federal poverty level. Finally, eight states used Section 1115 waivers to expand coverage to two-parent families.(51) Oregon and Delaware used waivers to cover all adults with incomes less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Hawaii offers full cost Medicaid buy-in for parents with incomes under 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women. Medicaid will cover pregnant women who are not eligible under Section 1931 and whose incomes fall under a certain threshold. The minimum limit is the higher of the following: 133 percent of the federal poverty level or the level that the state had in place as of December 1989 (up to 185 percent of the poverty level). Women are also covered for 60 to 90 days postpartum. To the extent that a husband (but not a cohabitor) in the household increases family income, a woman would become ineligible for coverage. However, once a pregnant woman becomes eligible for Medicaid, an increase in income (even as the result of marriage) will not cause her to lose eligibility during the pregnancy or postpartum period.

Thirteen states have raised Medicaid income eligibility for pregnant woman above 185 percent of the poverty level.(52) The increased thresholds range from 200 percent of the poverty level in seven states to 300 percent in California.

Expanded health care coverage for two-parent families. Although a number of states have taken steps to address marriage penalties in the Medicaid program, some couples will not be eligible for coverage (e.g., their combined income might make them ineligible). Some states cover parents through state-funded programs. Unlike programs partially funded by the federal government, state programs are not bound by federal restrictions regarding eligibility or benefit structures. States can also extend coverage to parents through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through a waiver.

Six states cover parents through SCHIP waivers. Arizona, California, Minnesota, and New Jersey cover parents up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level; Rhode Island and Wisconsin cover parents up to 185 percent. Three states also provide coverage to parents through state-only health plans.(53)

G. State-level Vital Statistics

State policymakers who are interested in taking action on marriage-related issues need to have a good understanding of trends in marriage and divorce in their state. For example, states that aim to reduce their divorce rates by one-third need reliable data on the prevalence of divorce. Thus, there is a growing interest in the quality of state-level vital statistics.

The types and quality of data states collect vary considerably. In the past, the federal government, through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), provided funds to states to help them collect and code marriage and divorce statistics, which were sent to NCHS to help calculate national marriage and divorce rates. Resources have not been available for NCHS to continue to assist the states in the collection of this data. We examined the level of detail of state-reported marriage and divorce data.

Reports sent to NCHS and follow-up contacts reveal a wide range in the level and quality of marriage and divorce data detail.(54) We had information from 50 states.(55) (Table 9 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on state policies.) Two states reported that they do not collect data on marriage or divorce;(56) a third no longer publishes statistics because they are deemed unreliable.(57) For states that publish data, 13 reported fairly limited information on marriage, such as the total number of marriages, the marriage rate, and county or region of occurrence.(58) Eleven states include some type of demographic information in addition to basic statistics, such as age and/or race of the bride and groom.(59) Twenty-three states include more detailed information, such as previous marital status.

Divorce data was generally less detailed that marriage data. Two states that report marriage data noted that their divorce data was unreliable because courts are either not mandated to provide data or do not report it consistently.(60) Another state that publishes marriage data does not publish any data on divorces.(61) Of the states that publish divorce data, 19 report basic information, such as the number of divorces and rates.(62) Twenty-five provide more detail, including age and race, the number of minor children, length of marriage, number of previous marriages, and grounds for divorce.

Two states (North Dakota and Tennessee) note that their systems can provide more detailed marriage and divorce information beyond the numbers and rates generally reported. Finally, Pennsylvania is changing its system to collect summary data only, starting in 2002.(63)

Beyond general data collection, nine states have initiatives to improve their vital statistics on marriage and divorce.(64) One example is Oklahoma, which as part of its larger marriage initiative, is planning to improve the data-gathering system to better document marriages and divorces in the state. The state also proposed a bill in 2001 that would have created a system to monitor marriages and divorces in Oklahoma, but it failed. Rhode Island plans to implement an electronic vital registration system. The marriage module would enable the local registrar to enter the marriage license information into the centralized database at the state office, print out the license for the couple, electronically track registration of the marriage record and provide a statistical database.(65)

H. Marriage Support and Promotion

In addition to marriage preparation initiatives, states have taken an interest in policies to strengthen marriages after couples marry (e.g., efforts to promote communication and education may help prevent families from dissolving). Other policies encourage parents with children in common to marry. We focused on home visitation programs, mentoring and counseling, and fatherhood programs that specifically address marriage promotion as part of their program goals. Thirteen states had an activity in one or more of these areas. (Table 10 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on state policies.)

Home visitation programs. Home visiting involves sending nurses or other professionals into the homes of targeted families to offer a wide range of services. Families might be targeted for a range of reasons, including contact with the child welfare system, a birth to a teenager, or an unstable marriage. Services offered also vary widely, and can include case management, parenting instruction, family planning education, and links to community services.

Home visiting programs that explicitly mention marriage appear to be rare. While 21 states reported using TANF funds for home visiting programs in FY 2001, marriage promotion did not appear to be a primary goal of any of them.(66) Instead, they focused on other goals of TANF — promoting self-sufficiency and delaying subsequent births. Beyond these efforts, four states either target families with unstable marriages for home visiting programs or incorporate relationship and other skills into their programs. Utah’s Commission on Marriage, for example, will collaborate with home visiting programs to get marriage enrichment materials into the homes of fragile families. Oklahoma’s statewide home visiting program, Children First, is beginning to work with the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative to include training for nurse home visitors to focus on relationships between the parents and, when appropriate, refer them to relationship workshops. Hawaii has a statewide home visiting program that includes families with unstable marriages as one of its target groups. It is unclear whether home visitors specifically focus on marriage skills, however. North Carolina’s program is geared towards new parents and includes relationship-building skills.

Marriage mentoring, education, and counseling. Six states have mentoring or counseling programs that aim to strengthen relationships.(67) Some focus on specific populations. Alabama’s Family Coaches Program, for instance, targets TANF recipients and other low-income families. Michigan’s Family Independence Agency is working in specific counties to provide marital counseling, communications skills, and anger management to those eligible under TANF guidelines. Other state efforts target broader populations. Arizona recently awarded contracts to 11 organizations to offer marriage and communications skills programs statewide. Oklahoma established a marriage resource center to provide information on marriage and mentor couples and also offer relationship skills workshops for married and unmarried couples. Oregon is piloting a program on communications skills and conflict management. And the Utah Commission on Marriage is using TANF funds to offer vouchers for counseling and mediation and to develop a website that includes marriage enrichment information and links to service-related sites.

Fatherhood programs. Some states are seeking to reunify families through statewide fatherhood programs. In a general sense, these programs’ focus on relationship and parenting skills aims to increase fathers’ attachment to their families. Some statewide programs, however, have a specific marriage component. We found five examples of statewide programs that include discuss marriage. The Florida Commission on Fatherhood, for example, operates programs in 35 counties. The Commission’s policy is that strong marriages promote fatherhood and that programs should promote marriage preservation. Mississippi’s Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is funded with TANF dollars and addresses all goals of TANF in the training programs, including marriage. The Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative approaches the subject of marriage in its programs as the best (but not only) environment in which to raise children. Staff teach the value of marriage in the fatherhood centers and school-based programs. The programs have resource centers that have information on building strong marriages. Two states also train program providers on how to address marriage. The Texas Fatherhood Initiative will soon be training community-based organizations on how to promote marriage within the context of a fatherhood program. Similarly, Virginia’s fatherhood campaign includes workshops for providers on ways to promote sound marriages.

I. Youth Education and Development

While many of the state-level marriage policies focus on activities that aim to prepare adults for marriage or prevent divorce, states are also targeting the marriage message to youth. Two such areas are school-based marriage education and abstinence-until-marriage education. Twenty-seven states had policies in these areas. This is likely an understatement of the level of activity because our focus is on statewide policies. Much of the policymaking in the area of education occurs at the local school district level. Thus, it is likely that many marriage and abstinence initiatives were not captured in this study.(68) (Table 11 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on state policies.)

School-based marriage education. We found nine states that addressed statewide school-based marriage education. Five have enacted some type of policy or program.(69) Florida passed a law that requires marriage education in high school. New Hampshire is piloting a program that may be adopted statewide called The Loving Well Project, which is a character education course with a section focusing on marriage. South Carolina used The Loving Well curriculum statewide for five years but no longer does so. A large number of schools in Pennsylvania adopted an ABA initiative — The Partners Project: A Curriculum for Preserving Marriages — which is designed to give high school students a first-hand understanding of the challenges of marriage, including relationship skills. South Dakota subsidized the Connections curriculum, which targets high school students and focuses on marriage and relationship communications skills.

Wisconsin has a bill pending that would require instruction in marriage be incorporated into any public school curriculum that teaches human sexuality. Initiatives in three other states failed. Arizona proposed distributing funds to public schools for marriage and parenting classes. Utah proposed adding a marriage component to civics classes but was unable to get funding. New Mexico’s bill called for the development of a high school curriculum teaching the value and benefits of marriage.

Abstinence-until-marriage education. Abstinence-until-marriage education was more common. Twenty states emphasize abstinence until marriage in schools, other programs that target youth, or media campaigns directed at youth.(70)

In two states (North Carolina and South Carolina), abstinence-until-marriage education is part of the state’s policy on sex education. Again, this reflects what is publicly available on state-level policies. Local districts likely have implemented abstinence-until-marriage programs of their own. In addition, Nebraska awards funds, curricula and technical assistance to assist the six communities with the highest teen birth rates to develop strategies to promote abstinence until marriage.

Fourteen states also emphasize abstinence until marriage in their Section 510 programs.(71) Again, this likely understates the level of abstinence-until-marriage education for a number of reasons. For one, Section 510 of Title V, enacted as part of the 1996 welfare reform law, has an eight-point definition of abstinence. Some of these definitions focus specifically on abstaining from sexual activity outside of marriage. Others are more general (e.g., health gains realized by abstaining from sex). States do not have to focus equally on all eight definitions, but they cannot violate any one definition. States that focus on the general definitions cannot teach anything that contradicts an abstinence-until-marriage message. Moreover, individual grantees or communities might have discretion over program content. State policy may not indicate an abstinence-until-marriage focus, but some local programs might strongly emphasize that definition. Thus, while all states might have some type of abstinence education program in place, the ones listed here have both a state-level directive and a focus on marriage. For example, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan report their programs emphasize abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-aged children. Hawaii’s program teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity. Mississippi and Tennessee fund community-based organizations that target youth and stress the benefits of remaining abstinent until marriage. Other programs, such as Oregon’s Students Today Aren’t Ready for Sex, provide youth with information and skills to help them postpone sex until marriage.

Five states(72) have undertaken media campaigns to promote abstinence until marriage. Each used federal abstinence or TANF funds. In Massachusetts, for instance, the Abstinence Education Media Campaign targets youth ages 9 to 14 with a clear message that supports abstinence outside of marriage and the benefits of waiting.

In addition to these efforts, Arizona introduced legislation that would appropriate $500,000 from the general fund to implement an abstinence-based teenage pregnancy prevention program.(73) Also, there is a teen pregnancy prevention campaign that is part of a larger marriage-skills program financed with TANF funds.

J. Specialty Programs

Finally, we examined marriage initiatives within several identified specialty programs. We examined professional development efforts for marriage and family therapists, respite programs for parents of children with disabilities, and programs for incarcerated parents. Every state had an activity in at least one of the three areas. (Table 12 in the detailed matrices provides additional information on policies.)

Professional development. State license and certification laws for marriage and family therapists can help the public identify qualified therapists. According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, therapists who obtain a license or certificate have met high educational and clinical experience criteria. As of 2001, 44 states regulated marriage and family therapists through a licensing or certification board.(74) This represents an increase from 11 states in 1986.(75) In addition to therapists, marriage educators offer services to couples and individuals. Three states (Maryland, Minnesota, Utah) require or propose to require qualifications for those who teach marriage education. Other states do not regulate educators.

Respite programs for parents of children with disabilities. Special-needs children can put a strain on a marriage. Respite programs offer family support services, such as day care and counseling. Although the respite programs listed below do not necessarily have an explicit marriage component, their intention is to allow parents to time to themselves and away from home — luxuries that can help reduce possible stress associated with raising special-needs children. Respite programs are offered by 43 states. Most offer services to any parent with a disabled child. For example, in North Carolina, Albemarle Health Care provides in-home or facility based care by trained nurses at a parent’s request. The Oklahoma marriage initiative recognizes that families with disabled children have high divorce rates so included respite services as part of the initiative. The Texas Children with Special Health Care Needs program provides respite, specialized day care, counseling and home modifications that aim to help families care for children with disabilities.

Programs for incarcerated parents. Programs target both men and women leaving prison for parenting and family reunification services. Four states(76) have statewide programs for incarcerated parents. Idaho, for instance, uses TANF funds for family stabilization services for families with a previously incarcerated individual. Pennsylvania’s fatherhood program targets incarcerated and paroled fathers to help them make the transition to their families. Marriage is approached as the best environment in which to raise children. In the District of Columbia, the Prison Fellowship Ministries offer seminars to prisoners and their spouses to learn how to work through marital problems.

Exhibit 2: States That Have Proposed or Enacted Policies to Promote Marriage

ActivityDefinitionStates with Activities (Law or Bill)
COMMISSIONS AND CAMPAIGNS
State CampaignsMedia campaigns to promote marriage and curb divorce rates.AZ, AR, NM, OK
CommissionsSummits that focus on strengthening marriage; commissions charged with implementing specific policies.AZ, LA, MI, SC, UT
ProclamationsStatements recognizing the importance of marriage as a public good and foundation of healthy families.LA, NC, UT
DIVORCE LAWS/PROCEDURES
Modifications to No-fault LawsLaws that make divorce more difficult by requiring mutual consent.AZ, CA, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, MT, NH, NJ, TX, VA, WA, WV
Covenant MarriageTypically requires pre-marital counseling, an agreement to seek additional counseling if marital problems arise, and 2-year waiting period for divorce.AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, GA, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NM, OH, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV, WI
Mandatory EducationEducation for couples with children on the effects of divorce on children.AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, IA, KS, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WI
Presumption of Joint Legal CustodyStates that have a presumption or strong preference in favor of joint legal custody.47 States(77)
Waiting Periods before DivorceMinimum periods between date of filing for divorce and date court grants divorce.AL, AZ, AR, CA, GA, IL, IN, IA, LA, MA, MO, NE, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WY
Different Laws for Couples with ChildrenLaws that treat couples with children differently, such as mandatory education, no-fault modifications or increased waiting periods.AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, IA, KS, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI
Mediation InitiativesMediation, offered through the courts, generally addresses custody and visitation issues.CA, DC, IA, KS, MO, NM, UT, WI
MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIP PREPARATION AND EDUCATION
Incentives for Marriage PreparationActivities, such as license fee reductions, for those who participate in education or counseling.AK, AZ, CA, FL, IL, IA, MD, MI, MN, NM, OK, SD, TN
State Funding for Marriage SupportUse of TANF or other funds to encourage couples to participate in marriage preparation activities.AZ, MI, OK, TX, UT, WI
Marriage Education for AdultsSuggested or required education, often within the context of license fee reductions, marriage waiting period reductions.AK, AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, IA, KS, MD, MI, MN, MS, NM, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI
Remarriage Waiting PeriodsMinimum time must elapse between the date a divorce is granted and filing for remarriage.AL, OK, TX, WI
STATE TAXES
State EITCThe federal Earned Income Tax Credit reduces federal taxes and provides a wage supplement for low-income working families. States have enacted EITCs to reduce the burden of state taxes on working families.CO, DC, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WI
State Marriage PenaltyMarried couples may face a marriage penalty because the state tax is a percentage of the federal liability or joint and single returns are similar.GA, KS, MD, NJ, NM, ND, OH, OK, RI, SC, VT, WV
TANF POLICIES
TANF Eligibility, Two-parent FamiliesElimination of the work history and 100-hour rules.33 States(78)
Marriage Incentives, TANFStates can disregard income of a new spouse for specified time, provide an incentive payment to monthly benefit, offer child care/health benefits to low-income mothers who marry.AL, ME, MN, MS, NJ, ND, OK, TN, WA, WV
Marriage Promotion, TANFState workers actively promote marriage to TANF participants.OK
Child Support Arrearage ForgivenessChild support arrearages owed to the state by non-custodial parents are forgiven if parents reunite.TN, VT
MEDICAID POLICIES
Medicaid Eligibility Based Solely on Financial CircumstancesStates cover two-parent families to the same extent as single-parent families by eliminating the recent work history and “100-hour” rules.36 States(79)
Expanded Medicaid EligibilityStates have increased income and asset disregards and/or increased coverage through Section 1115 waivers.AZ, CA, DE, DC, HI, ME, MN, MO, MT, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, VT, WA, WI, WY.
Medicaid Eligibility, Pregnant WomenRaise the income eligibility for pregnant women above 185 percent of poverty.AK, CA, DE, DC, GA, IL, IA, ME, MD, MA, MN, RI, VT
Expanded Health Care Coverage, Two-parent Families.States cover parents through state-funded programs or SCHIP.AZ, CA, MN, NJ, OR, RI, WA, WI
STATE-LEVEL VITAL STATISTICS
Marriage DataStatistics on marriage47 States(80)
Divorce DataStatistics on divorce46 States(81)
Improvement Efforts GA, HI, IA, MA, NJ, OK, RI, SD, VT
MARRIAGE SUPPORT AND PROMOTION
Home Visitation ProgramsA nurse or other professional is sent into the home of targeted families to offer numerous services including marriage or relationships education or skillsHI, NC, OK, UT,
Mentoring, Education, and CounselingPrograms that aim to strengthen families, including communications skills, anger management, mentoring of at-risk families.AL, AZ, MI, OK, OR, UT
Fatherhood ProgramsStates are seeking to reunify families by incorporating a marriage component into statewide fatherhood initiatives.FL, MS, PA, TX, VA
YOUTH EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
School-based Marriage EducationStatewide marriage education in schools.AZ, FL, NH, NM, PA, SC, SD, UT, WI
Abstinence-until-marriage EducationStates include the message as part of sex education programs, Title V Section 510 programs enacted as part of the 1996 welfare reform law, and as media campaigns.AL, AZ, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NC, OK, OR, SC, TN, VA
SPECIALTY PROGRAMS
Professional DevelopmentState regulates marriage and family therapists44 States(82)
Respite Programs for Parents of Children with DisabilitiesStatewide programs that offer family support services such as day care and counseling.43 States(83)
Programs for Incarcerated ParentsStatewide programs target both men and women leaving prison for parenting and family reunification services.CT, DC, ID, PA

Endnotes

1.  The authors would like to thank the following panelists for reviewing a draft of the interim report: Nancy Duff Campbell, Kathryn Dyjak, Patrick Fagan, Susan Golonka, Ron Haskins, and Lee Posey.

2.  Arizona, Louisiana, and Utah.

3.  Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Utah.

4.  No marriage penalty means that a state has no income tax, has a flat tax regardless of filing status, has brackets for married couples twice as wide as single filers, or allows married couples to use one return to pay taxes on separate income as if they were single.

5.  In Louisiana, the law is being evaluated under a NSF grant. The co-director is Steven Nock at the Center for Children and the Law, University of Virginia.

6.  Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia.

7.  American Bar Association Network. http://www.abanet.org/publiced/lawday/community/separation.html.

8.  Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Texas.

9.  California, Idaho, Kansas (a second bill is still under consideration) Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

10.  Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia.

11.  Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Texas, Vermont

12.  Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania (second bill).

13.  See, for example, Judith Seltzer, “Father by Law: Effects of Joint Legal Custody on Nonresident Fathers’ Involvement with Children,” Demography 35(2): 135-146.

14.  States that do not have joint legal custody are Arkansas, California, New York and Washington.

15.  Source:  http://www.dads4kids.com/joint_custody_states.htm

16.  Wyoming is considering legislation that would grant immediate divorce to certain couples who craft their own divorce settlements without attorneys.

17.  Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia.

18.  Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia.

19.  Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania (2 bills), Wisconsin.

20.  Georgia passed a law; Bills pending in California, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Virginia, Washington; bills failed in Arizona and New Hampshire.

21.  California, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Utah, Wisconsin

22.  Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa (2 bills), Maryland, Michigan (2 bills), Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee.

23.  The additional fee was implemented to help finance a plan to educate divorcing parents about the effects of divorce on children. A percentage of the proceeds from the fee are also directed towards child abuse and domestic violence prevention as well as a program the offers services to families with disabled children.

24.  The Iowa bill includes both a higher fee and waiting period for those who do not take a course.

25.  Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee.

26.  Alaska, Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, South Dakota.

27.  Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah (two initiatives), Virginia, Wisconsin.

28.  Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin.

29.  Married couples may file as individuals at tax rates that are higher than those for single persons; however, it is rarely advantageous to do so.

30.  Childless low-income workers can qualify for a small credit, but the maximum credit in 2000 ($343) was much lower than the credit available to working families with children. http://www.cbpp.org/10-18-01sfp.pdf.

31.  For more information on EITC improvements for married couples, see the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities at http://www.cbpp.org/12-27-01sfp.pdf.

32.  Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin.

33.  In the 16th state, Minnesota, the refund varies by earnings.

34.  Information on federal marriage penalties is from the Congressional Budget Office (1997). For Better or For Worse: Marriage and the Federal Income Tax. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=7&sequence=0&from=1

35.  States with no state income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wyoming. Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. http://www.cbpp.org/3-1-01sfp-pr.htm

36.  Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania.

37.  Alabama, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Oregon, Utah.

38.  Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin.

39.  Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Virginia.

40.  Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia.

41.  Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina.

42.  Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.

43.  States that do not base eligibility on financial circumstances only are Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington.

44.  Alabama, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia.

45.  Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas.

46.  Minus any pass through.

47.  The term used in the Vermont statute is reunited and makes no specific reference to marriage.

48.  Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.

49.  States that do not base eligibility solely on financial circumstances are:  Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

50.  Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

51.  Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin.

52.  Alaska, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont.

53.  Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington.

54.  Although states can often provide more detailed information upon request, the data presented in this report addresses those statistics that are published regularly by the states.

55.  Information for the District of Columbia is missing.

56.  California, New Mexico.

57.  Georgia.

58.  Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia.

59.  Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin.

60.  Connecticut, Montana.

61.  Indiana

62.  Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia.

63.  Summary data includes total marriages by age and divorces by number of years married.

64.  Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont.

65.  Implementation has been postponed due to state budget issues.

66.  Susan Frankel, Prevent Child Abuse America. Correspondence with author. October 23, 2001.

67.  Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah.

68.  Every state except California accepted federal abstinence education funding. Not all of them have state-level programs, but there is a high level of abstinence education activity.

69.  Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota.

70.  Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia,.

71.  Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee.

72.  Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia.

73.  Although funds were appropriated, the bill itself (H.B. 2115, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Pilot Project) is currently being held in committee and has not been passed.

74.  States that do not license therapists are Delaware, District of Columbia, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia.

75.  See American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/resources/Online_Directories/boardcontacts.htm

76.  Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Pennsylvania.

77.  All states except AR, CA, NY, WA

78.  States that do not base TANF on financial circumstances only are AZ, CA, DC, GA, IN, KY, ME, MA, MS, MO, NH, ND, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, WA.

79.  States that do not base Medicaid on financial circumstances only are AR, FL, KY, LA, ME, NE, NH, ND, OK, PA, TN, UT, WV, WI, WY.

80.  CA and NM do not report marriage statistics. GA data deemed unreliable and no longer published. Information for DC is missing.

81.  CA, IN and NM do not report divorce statistics. GA data deemed unreliable and no longer published. Information for DC is missing.

82.  States that do not regulate therapists are DE, DC, MT, NY, ND, OH, WV.

83.  States with no statewide respite programs are AK, CA, DC, FL, ME, MS, NJ, NM.

Attachment A. Detailed Matrices

Note:  The web addresses below were valid at the time the report was prepared.
They may have changed since then.

Table 1: Campaigns, Commissions, and Proclamations

StateCampaignsCommissionsProclamation
Alabama   
Alaska   
ArizonaBill. Bill 2462 (2000) failed in Senate on third reading. $1,900,000 for a media campaign to promote the health and societal benefits of marriage. Source:  http://www.azleg.state.az.us/legtext/
44leg/2r/summary/s.2462fs_revised.doc.htm
.
Law. Bill HB2199 signed by governor on 4/28/00. The state legislature established a Marriage and Communication Skills Commission to encourage community-based organizations to train married couples and those contemplating marriage in communication and relationship skills. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/legtext/
44leg/2r/summary/s.2199fs_final.doc.htm
 
ArkansasIn October 1999, Governor Huckabee, convened a Governor's Conference on the Family declared a marital emergency and called for a 50% reduction of divorce in the state and nationally. He encouraged the formation of Community Marriage Policies across the state and the nation; Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/legislation.html  
California   
Colorado   
Connecticut   
Delaware   
DC   
Florida   
Georgia   
Hawaii   
Idaho   
Illinois   
Indiana   
Iowa   
Kansas   
Kentucky   
Louisiana The legislature recently asked the Governor to establish a Council on Marriage to monitor, develop, and evaluate policies, programs, curricula, publicity, and the delivery of services to families to assure that government does not undermine marriage. Source: Wade Horn in http://archives.his.com/
smartmarriages/msg01351.html
2/14/99 proclaimed as National Marriage Day; reaffirms the special status of marriage in the US as the foundation for healthy families and healthy future of the US; Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
louisiana.html
Maine   
Maryland   
Massachusetts   
Michigan Bill. HB5545 (2002). Creates a legislative commission on marriage and fatherhood. Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/ 
Minnesota   
Mississippi   
Missouri   
Montana   
Nebraska   
Nevada   
New Hampshire   
New Jersey   
New MexicoBill. SB482 (2001) was killed. A statewide media campaign was proposed to laud the benefits of marriage. Source: http://legis.state.nm.us/session01/; http://www.smartmarriages.com/
new.mexico.legislation.html
  
New York   
North Carolina  Signed marriage proclamation recognizing importance of marriage to the public good. Source: http://www.marriagemovement.org/
html/report.html
.
North Dakota   
Ohio   
OklahomaIn 1999, the Governor publicly made a 1/3 reduction in the divorce rate an important goal of the administration; a new $10 million marriage initiative (using unspent TANF funds) aims to reduce divorce via marriage covenants, a marriage resource center, a state-wide service delivery system for marriage skills training and a public information campaign. Social service caseworkers, public health nurses, counselors and educators will be trained to promote marriage. Source: http://www.clasp.org/
pubs/familyformation/toomstestimony.htm
(Ooms Congressional Testimony, 2001).

Also creating a media campaign to highlight marriage-building skills. Source: http://www.clasp.org/
pubs/familyformation/toomstestimony.htm
(Ooms Congressional Testimony, 2001).

  
Oregon   
Pennsylvania   
Rhode Island   
South Carolina In 2001 Attorney General Condon set up a commission/panel to develop policies to support marriage and family. The commission will also explore faith-based programs such as mentoring. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
south.carolina.marriage.html
 
South Dakota   
Tennessee   
Texas   
Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and First Lady Jacalyn S. Leavitt announced the Governor's Commission on Marriage, September 18, 1998 in an effort to focus attention on strengthening marriages. The commission was charged with gathering information on best marriage-strengthening practices and will continue to determine public policy initiatives that can be recommended to the governor and first lady. Source: http://www.governor.state.ut.us/
FirstLady/html/marriage_commission.htm
(1) Signed marriage proclamation recognizing importance of marriage to the public good. Source: http://www.marriagemovement.org/
html/report.html
.

(2) Marriage Awareness Week. Sept. 15-Oct. 2, 1999. Source: http://www.ksl.com/dump/
news/cc/famnow/govmarr.htm

Vermont   
Virginia   
Washington   
West Virginia   
Wisconsin   
Wyoming   

Table 2: Divorce Laws and Procedures

StateNo Fault Sole GroundNo-Fault Grounds Added to Fault-Based DivorceNo-Fault ModificationsCovenant MarriageMandatory Education on Effects of DivorceJoint Legal Custody Presumption Laws (a)
Notes:
a/ States with "X" have presumption in favor of joint legal custody of children if both parents agree. Source: http://www.abanet.org/family/familylaw/table2.html

Table Sources:

  • Cassidy, Dawn. National Council of Family Relations. Correspondence with author. September 19, 2001.
  • National Center for Children in Poverty, 1999. State Initiatives to Encourage Responsible Fatherhood, 1999 Edition. Columbia University: New York, N.Y.
Alabama X Bills. SB606 and HB30, proposed in 1998 but died; Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/ala.html X
Alaska X Bill. HB390 and SB319 introduced in March and April 1998. Option for charter (covenant marriage; Includes premarital counseling and stricter grounds for divorce. Did not pass. Source: Dawn Cassidy, National Council on Family RelationsBill. HB477 proposed in 1996. Mandatory education courses for parents who seek divorce (unless court waives requirement); Required course administered by the administrative director of courts through contracts with public or private entities. DIED in committee.

Source: http://old-www.legis.state.ak.us/s/
basp1000.dll?Get&S=19&Root=HB477

X
ArizonaXcXc(1) Bill. SB1414 (1996). Did not pass. Amending laws 1994, chapter 374, section 24 relating to dissolution of marriage. Evaluate recent proposals in other states to amend no fault divorces by adding fault-based provisions that are designed to put the needs of children first. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/
legtext/42leg/2r/bills/sb1414p.htm

(2) Bill. SB1409 (1997) Did not pass. Requires that a petition for dissolution of marriage shall set forth the grounds on which the court may grant the decree. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/
legtext/43leg/1r/summary/s.1409.fs.htm

Law. Bill SB1133 passed on May 21, 1998. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/ari.html

Law. H.B. 2536 (2001). Allows for existing marriages be converted to covenant status more easily. Husband and wife are not required to undergo additional counseling and no additional ceremony is required. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/legtext/bills.htm and http://www.divorcereform.org

Law. H.B. 2026 (2001). Divorce suits must state whether the marriage is a covenant marriage. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org

Law. Article 5, 25-35. Unless deemed unnecessary, divorcing parents of a minor child must attend an educational program to educate parents on the impacts of divorce. Introduced in 1996. No program providers specified. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/25/title25.htmX
Arkansas X Law. Bill HB2102 passed on April 6 2001. Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/
ftproot/bills/1999/htm/HB2102.htm
Law. Statutes (9-12-322) include: Court may require divorcing parents to complete at least 2 hours of classes concerning parenting issue faced by divorcing parents (Acts 1999, No. 704, § 1); Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/newsdcode/lpext.dll/ 
CaliforniaX Bill. AB913 (1997) as proposed creates the Family and Children Preservation Act. The bill requires parties filing for dissolution and who have minor children to file a "joint parenting plan". The bill allows dissolution based on irreconcilable differences only upon the mutual consent of the parties. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/
committee/c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
)
Bill SB1377 proposed in Senate in 1998 but did not pass. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html  
ColoradoX  Bill. It was killed in Feb. 1999 (House Bill 99-1199). Source: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/
leg_dir/lcsstaff/1999/research/99CivilLaw.htm
Bill HB1337 (2002) failed in committee. Would require counseling for all couples with children seeking a divorce that would inform parents about the impact of divorce on children. Source: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/stateleg.htmlX
Connecticut X  Law. Sec. 46b-69b. All separating and divorcing parents can be required to attend a six-hour parental education classes ... the $100 class provides parents w/ info. on child development, the effect of parental separation on children, dispute resolution and conflict management, guidelines for visitation, stress reduction in children, and lessons in cooperative parenting. Source: http://www.cga.state.ct.us/lco/
Statute_Web_Site_LCO.htm
X
Delaware X   X
District of Columbia X   X
Florida X  Law. Bill S1576 (1998) passed. (Ch. 98-403). Couples w/ children who file for divorce must take a Parent Education and Family Stabilization course that covers the legal and emotional impact of divorce on adults and children, financial responsibility, laws on child abuse or neglect and they must learn conflict resolution skills. Source: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Welcome/index.cfmX
Georgia XLaw. Amended Code Section 19-13-4. Bill HB434 (1997-1998). That the marriage is irretrievably broken will be a ground for divorce only if the parties agree and there are no minor children of the marriage. Source: http://www2.state.ga.us/
Legis/1997_98/leg/fulltext/hb434.html
Bill. Bill HB 1138 passed by Senate in Feb. 1998. Sent to the House. Source: http://www.state.ga.us/services/
newleg/legsearch.cgi?year=2001&bill=HB17
.

Bill. HB 17 (2001). Proposed that one year separation be required for no-fault divorce. In covenant marriages.

Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html

 X
HawaiiX   (1) Law. HB1172 (1997) passed. Requires couples with children to obtain pre-divorce counseling to ensure the children’s welfare after the divorce. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/
committee/c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
)

(2) The state requires divorcing parents to take a course addressing the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).

X
Idaho XBill. HB470 (1996). Requires that irreconcilable differences be determined by mutual consent of the parties rather than by the court. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/
plri/spring98/marriage.html#III.A.(4)
  X
Illinois X  Law. Sec. 404.1 of Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Statues Include: Court may order parents who seek divorce to attend an education program concerning the effects of dissolution of marriage on children; Course is not to exceed 4 hrs in duration; Source: http://www.legis.state.il.us/ilcs/ch750/
ch750act5articles/ch750act5Sub4.htm
X
Indiana XBill. HB1049 (1997). Failed. Establishes two classifications of marriage licenses – contract marriage licenses and covenant marriage licenses. The bill provides that only a marriage based upon a contract license may be dissolved without providing fault. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/
committee/c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
)
Bill. H.B. 1052, 110th Leg., 2d Sess. (Ind. 1998). Proposed in house, 1998 http://www.divorcereform.org/ind.html

Bill. S.B. 384. Proposed in Senate, 2002. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org

 X
IowaX  Bill. Senate File 353 and File 2106. Proposed in Senate, 2001, http://www.divorcere form.org/cov.htmlLaw. Section 598.19A. The court shall order the parties to any action which involves the issues of child custody or visitation to participate in a court-approved course to educate and sensitize the parties to the needs of any child or party during and subsequent to the proceeding within forty-five days of the service of notice and petition for the action or within forty-five days of the service of notice and application for modification of an order. Source: http://www2.legis.state.ia.us/
IACODE/1999/598/19A.html
X
Kansas XBill. S173 (2002) would roll back no-fault divorce in cases where dependent children are in the home. In 2/02, approved by Senate Judiciary Committee. Source: Smartmarriages.com listserve (2/5/02). S312 (1997) requires mutual consent for a no-fault divorce. Failed. Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/legislative/
billsubject/index.cgi/1998/312.html
Bill H2839 (1998) proposed in House but failed. Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/ legislative/Bill. Senate Bill 320 (1998). Failed in Senate. Effect of divorce on the child involved including developmental stages; responses to divorce; symptoms of maladjustment to divorce and responses to maladjustment; and education or counseling options for the child; Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/legislative/X
KentuckyX Bill. SB195 (1998 Regular). Died in committee. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 403 to require fault before a court enters a judgment of divorce in certain cases, amend KRS 403.190 to conform, repeal KRS 403.140, 403.150, and 403.170. Source: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/98rs/SB195.htm Bill. HB896 (1998 Regular). Died in committee. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 403 to require that all persons who have minor children that would be affected by a divorce attend a counseling class of their choosing at least three months prior to entry of the divorce decree. Source: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/98rs/HB896.htmX
Louisiana Xc Law. HB756 (1997). Amends and reenacts Civil Code Articles 102 and 103 and R.S. 9:234 and 245(A)(1) and enacts R.S. 9:224(C) and 225(A)(3), Part VII of Chapter 1 of Code Title IV of Code Book I of Title 9 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, comprised of R.S. 9:272 through 275, and R.S. 9:307, 308, and 309. Source: http://patriot.net/~crouch/ cov/index.html

Law H.B. 234 (2001). Anyone getting a marriage license shall be given a written summary of Louisiana’s divorce laws and its covenant marriage law. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org

 X
Maine X   X
Maryland X Bill. Bill HB1076 (1999 RS) proposed in House. Killed. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/mar.htmlBill. SB367 (1996 Leg., Reg. Sess.). Mandatory educational courses for parents seeking to divorce. The bill suggests that the goal of the educational seminar would be to educate parents on the effects of divorce and to minimize the disruption it causes on the minor children of the marriage. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#fn31
X
Massachusetts XBill. HB 1168 (1997) prohibits unilateral no-fault divorce for irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/mas.html  X
MichiganX Bill. HB5167 and HB5168 (2002). Modifies no-fault divorce for couples with minor children. Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/Bill. Introduced 2000. Option for covenant marriage; Includes premarital counseling and commitment to take all reasonable efforts to preserve marriage; Killed. Source: Dawn Cassidy, National Council on Family Relations(1) The state has a program for divorcing parents called Start Making it Livable for Everyone (SMILE) to help them understand the ramifications of divorce on children. The program is not mandatory and participation varies by county. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).

(2) Bill. HB5165 (2001). Requires an educational predivorce program including divorce effects if a child is involved. Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/

X
MinnesotaX Bill. HF1975 (79th Leg., Reg. Sess., 1995). Requires that irreconcilable differences be determined by mutual consent of the parties rather than by the court. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#III.A.(4)
Bill. See H.F. 2760, 80th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Minn. 1997); S.F. 2935, 80th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Minn. 1997). Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#58

Bill. H.F. 56 (2001). Proposed that a five-year separation required for no-fault divorce in covenant marriages. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html

Law. Chapter 518.157 of Minnesota Statutes. Statues Include: Courts may order divorcing parents of a minor child to attend a parent education program; chief judge of each judicial district implements one or more parent education programs to educate parents about various issues surrounding divorce; Source: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/
stats/518/157.html
X
Mississippi X Bill. H.B. 1645, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998); S.B. 2910, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998); H.B. 1201, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998); H.B. 1222, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998). Proposed in House and Senate. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html X
MissouriX  Bill. HB1864 (1998) proposed in House. Source: http://www.house.state.mo.us/
bills98/bills98/hb1864.htm#introduced

Bill. H.B. 1878/S.B. 698 (2002). Source: http://www.divorcereform.org

Several judicial circuits offer or require parenting education on the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center of Children in Poverty (1999).X
MontanaX Bill. HB573 introduced in 1997. Requires mutual consent for no-fault divorce based on separation, and having court consider the best interest of the children before granting a contested divorce based on fault or marital discord. Source: http://patriot.net/~crouch/act/hb573mt.html Law. Title 40, § 4-10. Divorcing parents can receive counseling on the impact of divorce on children. Source: http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/mca_toc/index.htmX
NebraskaX  Bill. L.B. 1214, 95th Leg., 2d Sess. (Neb. 1997). Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.htmlLaw. Passed July 1998. Divorce action involving minors may require parenting class. Source: http://statutes.unicam.state.ne.us/Corpus/
statutes/chap42/R420304901_42-349.01.html
X
Nevada X   X
New Hampshire XBill. Failed. HB1301 introduced in 2001. Permits no fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences only if there are no minor children of the parties. Source: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/
legislation/2001/HB1301.html
 The state has a pilot program underway in two counties requiring parenting classes in divorce cases. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).X
New Jersey XBill. AB2547 (1997). Failed. Eliminates the no-fault provision as a ground for divorce. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/
committee/c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
)
  X
New Mexico X Bill. H.B. 733 (2001). Proposed the elimination of no-fault divorce for covenant marriages. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html(1) Divorcing parents must undergo mandatory counseling to ensure that they are knowledgeable of the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).

(2) Bill. Senate Bill SB0318 introduced in 1999. Proposed bill to produce and distribute a booklet entitled "Before You check out-check your options" that would offer couples in conflict a range of options available to them prior to marriage dissolution. Source: http://www.empowermentnetwork.com/
policy/gov1.htm
,
http://legis.state.nm.us/Sessions/
99%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0318.html

X
New York X    
North Carolina X   X
North Dakota X   X
Ohio X Bill. See H.B. 567, 122d Leg., Reg. Sess. (Ohio 1997). Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#58
 X
Oklahoma X Bill. S.B. 481 (2001). Would have abolished “incompatibility” as grounds for divorce. Failed.

Bill. S.B. 1115, 46th Leg., 2d Sess. (Okla. 1997); H.B. 2208, 46th Leg., 2d Sess. (Okla. 1997). Died in committee. Oklahoma Covenant Marriage bill.

Bill. H.B. 2641 (2001). Proposed increased counseling for covenant marriages (accompanied by a license fee reduction) and limited grounds for divorce for all covenant marriages.

Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html

 X
Oregon X Bill. SB1336 (1999) passed in May 1999 by Senate. Sent to the House. Source: http://www.leg.state.or.us/99reg/
measures/sb1300.dir/sb1336.a.html
 X
Pennsylvania X  (1) Bill. SB442 (1997). Failed. Prohibits the court from granting a marital dissolution when the parties have any minor children between the ages of six and sixteen unless the parties demonstrate that the children have attended at least three counseling sessions between the time of separation and the granting of the divorce decree. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, CA State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/
committee/c15/publications/
divorcereform97.pdf
)

(2) Bill. Senate Bill 1575 (2001). Amending Section 3302(c) of the Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. The court shall refer the parties seeking a separation or dissolution of marriage to counseling of their choice, which counseling shall focus substantially on the potential harm to the children of separation or dissolution of the marriage. Source: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/
2001%5F0/hb1575p1927.htm

X
Rhode Island X   X
South Carolina X Bill. S 0961 Joint Resolution (1998) to amend Section 3, Article 12 XVII of the constitution of South Carolina. Died in committees. Introduced in 1997. Senate proposed Constitutional Amendment of the Constitution of this State, relating to the grounds for divorce to provide that, as a ground for divorce, in a covenant marriage a continuous separation must be for a period of at least two years; http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html, http://www.leginfo.state.sc.us/cgi-bin/
query99.exe?first=DOC&querytext=Marriage
&session=112&conid=9480&result_pos=0
&keyval=1120961#OCC2

Bill. S.B. 1259 (2001). A joint resolution to establish the South Carolina covenant marriage study committee.

Bill. S.B. 138 (2001). Proposed a two-year separation before no-fault divorce in covenant marriages.

Bill. S.B. 206 (2001). Proposed thirty-day waiting period for all covenant marriages.

Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html

 X
South Dakota X   X
Tennessee X Bill. H.B. 2101, 100th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Tenn. 1997). Proposed in House, 1997 http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.htmlLaw. Introduced 2000. Require divorcing parents with children under age 18 to participate in a parental seminar and jointly complete a permanent parenting plan. Source: http://www.gocrc.com/best2001.htmlX
Texas XBill. Introduced legislation that requires mutual consent for a no-fault divorce. Introduced in 1997 but was killed. Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
Bill. SB1015 passed in the Senate in May 1999 and sent to the House. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/txsen99.html

Bill. S.B. 70/H.B. 3526 (2001). Proposed three-year separation before no-fault divorce for covenant marriages. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html

Law. Statutes include: Court may order parties involved in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to attend a 4 to 12 hour-long parent education and family stabilization course (Added by HB2441, 1999); Source: Dawn Cassidy, National Council on Family RelationsX
Utah X  Law. Section 30-3-11.3. Unless the court orders otherwise, before a final order of joint legal custody is entered both parties shall attend the mandatory course for divorcing parents, as provided in Section 30-3-11.3 , and present a certificate of completion from the course to the court. Source: http://www.le.state.ut.us/
%7Ecode/TITLE30/TITLE30.htm
X
Vermont X  The state provides counseling to help divorcing couples understand the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).X
Virginia XBill. H.B. 1188, 1997 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1996). The bill would prohibit no-fault divorce if the couple has minor children and would further require mutual consent and a one-year waiting period to grant a no-fault divorce. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#47
Bill. H.B. 1056, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1998); H.J.R. 266, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1998); H.B. 1159, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1998). Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.htmlLaw. HB1178 (2000). Virginia’s Parental Education for Divorcing Parents law requires parents involved in custody and access (visitation) cases to attend parenting classes. Source: http://www.gocrc.com/best2001.htmlX
WashingtonX (1) Bill. H.B. 2950, 54th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 1995). The bill would require evidence of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. A divorce decree would not be granted it if was not in the best interests of the children. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#47

(2) Bill. Senate Bill 5564 introduced in January 1997. Involves modifications to require mutual consent. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/was.html

Bill. SB 6135 (1997-1998). Died in committee. Covenant marriages established. http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html  
West Virginia XBill. H.B. 4416, 1996 Leg., Reg. Sess. (W. Va. 1996). Introduced legislation that requires mutual consent for a no-fault divorce. Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
Bill SB2208 proposed in Senate in 1999 but did not pass. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/wva.html X
WisconsinX  Bill. AB-83 and SB-17 (2000). Create provisions for covenant marriage. Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.usBill. Bill AB-524 (2000). Divorce or legal separation involving minor child: court shall order parties to attend certain education program. Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.usX
Wyoming X   X

Table 3: Divorce Laws and Procedures

StateWaiting Periods (b)Different Laws for Families with childrenMediation
Minimum Period Until Divorce is Granted (a)Residency Requirement (c)
AlabamaLaw. 30 days. Section 30-2-8.1 (Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 96-51, p. 70, §1.) Source: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/
CodeofAlabama/1975/coatoc.htm
6 months (Title 30, Chapter 2) Source: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/  
Alaska None. If the marriage has been solemnized, and the Plaintiff is a resident of the state, he or she can bring the action at any time. Alaska Statutes; Title 25, Chapters 22-10.030, 24.080 and 24.090 Source: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/See Education on Effects of Divorce 
ArizonaLaw. 60 days. Chapter 3 (25-329). Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/25/00329.htm http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html90 days (Chapter 3, 25-312). Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/
ars/25/00312.htm
See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault Modifications 
ArkansasLaw. 3 months. (Code 9-12-307). Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/newwebcode/
lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-j.htm&2.0
The venue requirements may be waived in Arkansas if the parties have already been living separately for at least 12 months. Otherwise, the parties must wait 30 days before the decree can be entered. (Code 9-12-310). Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/newwebcode/
lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-j.htm&2.0
See Education on Effects of Divorce 
CaliforniaLaw. 6 months. Family Code Section 2330-2348. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/calif.htm6 months (Family Code Section 2320-2322) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/calif.htm
See No-fault ModificationsLaw. California mandates either mediation or court-approved education for all custody and visitation disputes. California Civil Code Section 4370.6(a) (See California Family Code section 271). Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
texaswhitepaper.html
Colorado 90 days (Code Section 19-4-4). Source: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/stateleg.htmlSee Education on Effects of Divorce 
Connecticut 1 year (Sec. 46b-44). Source: http://www.cga.state.ct.us/See Education on Effects of Divorce 
Delaware 6 months (Title 13, Chapter 15) Source: http://www.legis.state.de.us/
Legislature.nsf/?Opendatabase
  
District of Columbia 6 months (Title 16, Chapter 9) Source: http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/ The court may order either or both spouses to attend parenting classes in those cases in which child custody is an issue. [District of Columbia Code Annotated; Title 16, Chapter 9, Sections 911(2)d]. Source: http://www.uslaw.com/library/
article/nodixDC.html?area_id=15
 Minimum Period Until Divorce is Granted (a)Residency Requirement (c)  
Florida 6 months (Chapter 741) Source: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/
Welcome/index.cfm
See Education on Effects of Divorce 
GeorgiaLaw. Bill HB1472 passed in 1998. Divorce shall not be granted until 180 days from the date of service; Source: http://www2.state.ga.us/Legis/
1997_98/leg/fulltext/hb1472.htm
6 months (§§ 19-4-1 through 19-6-47) Source: http://www.ganet.org/services/newleg/See No-fault Modifications 
Hawaii 6 months (Chapter 580) Source: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/
site1/docs/docs.asp
See Education on Effects of Divorce 
Idaho 6 weeks (§§ 32-501 through 32-901) Source: http://www2.state.id.us/legislat/legislat.html  
IllinoisLaw. Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. 6 months. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html90 days (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act). Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce 
IndianaLaw. TITLE 31 Article 15. 60 days. Source: http://www.state.in.us/legislative/
ic/code/title31/ar15/ch2.html
One of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for 6 months and the county in which the petition is filed for 3 months immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage. [Annotated Indiana Code; 31-1-11.5-6]. Source: http://www.state.in.us/legislative/
ic/code/title31/ar15/ch2.html
  
IowaLaw. Section 598.19. 90 days. Source: http://www2.legis.state.ia.us/
IACODE/1999/598/19.html
1 year (Chapter 598). Source: http://www2.legis.state.ia.us/
IACODE/1999/598/19.html
See Education on Effects of DivorceLaw. Chapter 598.7 of state statute. Iowa mandates either mediation or court-approved education for all custody and visitation disputes. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
texaswhitepaper.html
Kansas 60 days (Chapter 23) Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/legislative/See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault ModificationsLaw. The state has a contract with a private provider to offer divorce education workshops and dispute resolution to divorcing parents. The mediation is voluntary in some counties but mandated in others at the judge's discretion. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).
Kentucky 180 days (KRS Chapter 403.00) Source: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/legislat/legislat.htmSee Education on Effects of Divorce 
LouisianaLaw. 180 days. Source: http://www.legis.state.la.us/tsrs/
tsrs.asp?lawbody=RS&title=13&section=3491
6 months (Title 5, Chapter 1) Source: http://www.legis.state.la.us/  
Maine 6 months (Title 19, Chapter 130) Source: http://janus.state.me.us/legis/  
Maryland 1 year (§§ 8-101 through 8-213) Source: http://mlis.state.md.us/See Education on Effects of Divorce 
MassachusettsLaw. General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 208. 90-day waiting period after hearing before final divorce for contested/uncontested fault divorce. 120-day waiting period for no-fault divorce. Source: http://www.state.ma.us/legis/
laws/mgl/gl-208-toc.htm
If the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts, one spouse must be a resident. If the grounds occurred outside of the state, the spouse filing must have been a resident for 1 year. The divorce should be filed for in the county in which the spouses last lived together. If neither spouse currently lives in that county then the divorce may be filed for in a county where either spouse currently resides. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 4, 5, and 6]. Source: http://www.state.ma.us/
legis/laws/mgl/gl-208-toc.htm
  
Michigan 6 months (Chapter 552) Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault Modifications 
Minnesota 180 days (Chapter 518)See Education on Effects of Divorce 
Mississippi 6 months (Title 93, Chapter 5) Source: http://www.peer.state.ms.us/  
MissouriLaw. Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452. 30 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html90 days (Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of DivorceLaw. Chapter 452. Some circuits offer mediation at no charge or at low cost to address issues dealing with custody and visitation. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).
Montana 90 days (Montana Code 40-4-104)See (1) No-fault Modifications and (2) Education on Effects of Divorce 
NebraskaLaw. Passed 1989. 60 days. Source: http://statutes.unicam.state.ne.us/Corpus/
statutes/chap42/R4203063_42-363.html
1 year (42-349) Source: http://statutes.unicam.state.ne.us/
Corpus/Statutes/chap42/R4203049.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce 
Nevada 6 weeks (NRS 125.020) Source: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/  
New Hampshire 1 year (Title 43, Chapter 458)See (1) Education on Effects of Divorce and (2) No-fault Modifications 
New Jersey 1 year  
New Mexico 6 monthsSee Education on Effects of DivorceLaw. Court ordered marriage clinics through the Office of Courts, which provide eval. of both parents and mediation prior to divorce. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey
New York 1 year (Chapter 14, Article 10-12)  
North Carolina 6 months (Chapter 50)  
North Dakota 6 months (Chapter 14-05)  
Ohio 6 months (Title 31, Chapter 31-05) Source: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/search.cfm  
OklahomaLaw. Section §43-134. 30 days waiting period if minor children. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html6 months (Oklahoma Statutes Annotated; Title 43, Sections 102 and 103) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
Bill. SB 28 (2001). Would have abolished “incompatibility” as grounds for divorce when there were children under 18. Failed. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org

Also, see Waiting Periods before Divorce is Granted

 
OregonLaw. Title 11-107. 90 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html6 months (Title 11-107) http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
  
Pennsylvania 6 months (Title 23, Part 3) Source: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/See Education on Effects of Divorce 
Rhode Island 1 year (Chapter 15-5)  
South Carolina90 days. SECTION 20-3-80. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/SCarolin.htmThe spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least 1 year, unless both spouses are residents, in which case the spouse filing must only have been a resident for 3 months. [Code of Laws of South Carolina; Chapter 3, Sections 20-3-30, 20-3-60, and 20-3-80]. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/SCarolin.htm
  
South Dakota None (§ 25-4-30) Source: http://legis.state.sd.us/index.cfm  
TennesseeLaw. Section § 36-4. 60 days if no minor children/90 days if there are minor children. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html6 months (§ 36-4-104) Source: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/(1) See Education on Effects of Divorce (2) See Waiting Periods before Divorce is Granted 
TexasLaw. Title 1, Subtitle C. 60 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html6 months (Title 1, Subtitle C) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce 
Utah(1) Law. Title 30 -- Chapter 03. 90 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html

(2) Bill. SB120 (1997). Died in House. Removes the exemption to the waiting period after filing for divorce if educational course is completed. Source: http://www.le.state.ut.us/~1997/bills/sbillamd/SB0120.htm

90 days (Title 30 -- Chapter 03) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of DivorceLaw. Utah Code, Section 30-3-38. Since 1995, all couples requesting a divorce are required to receive mediation, whether or not they have children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).
VermontLaw. Title15 Chapter 11. 1 year. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html6 months (Title15 Chapter 11) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See Education on Effects of Divorce 
VirginiaBill. H.B. 2132 (2001). Would have increased the waiting period from one to two years. Failed. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org.6 months (§§ 20-96, 20-97) Source: http://legis.state.va.us/vaonline/v.htmSee (1) No-fault Modifications and (2) Education on Effects of Divorce 
WashingtonLaw. Title 26, Chapter 9. 90 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html1 year (§ 26.09.030) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
See No-fault Modifications 
West Virginia 1 year (§§ 48-2-5 to 48-2-8) Source: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/  
Wisconsin 6 months (§§ 767.05, 767.083) Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/billtrack.htmlSee Education on Effects of DivorceLaw. Chapter 767.24 Statute. Wisconsin mandates either mediation or court-approved education for all custody and visitation disputes Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/
rsb/Statutes.html
Wyoming(1) Bill. Grants immediate divorce to certain couples who craft their own settlements without attorneys. Source: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/
news/archive/local_962168.shtml
.

(2) Law. 20 days. Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/paralegal/state_law.html

60 days (§§ 20-2-104, 20-2-107, 20-2-108) Source: http://www.cyberstation.net/
paralegal/state_law.html
  
Notes:
  1. Waiting period: period from the date one files for divorce and the date the court grants the divorce
  2. Blank cell under waiting period means that state has no waiting period
  3. Residency requirement is requirement for a spouse seeking divorce to be a resident of that state before filing for a divorce there. Source: http://www.abanet.org
Table Sources:
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 2001. State Efforts to Promote Marriage, Family Formation and Prevent Family Disintegration. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • National Center for Children in Poverty, 1999. State Initiatives to Encourage Responsible Fatherhood, 1999 Edition. Columbia University: New York, N.Y.

Table 4: State Requirements for Marriage Licenses and Ceremonies

StateBlood TestWaiting period between applying for and receiving licenseWaiting period between license and ceremonyHow soon one can marry after receiving licenseWhen license expiresI.D. RequiredAge of consent to marryFee
Age with parental consentAge without parental consent
Footnotes:
a/ Parental consent not required if minor was previously married.
b/ Other statutory requirements apply.
c/ Younger parties may marry with parental consent.
c2/ Younger parties may marry with parental and judicial consent.
d/ Waiting period may be avoided
e/ Younger parties may obtain license in case of pregnancy or birth of child.
f/ Parties must file notice of intention to marry with local clerk.
g/ No age limits
h/ When unmarried man and unmarried woman, not minors, have been living together as man and wife, they may, without health certificate, be married upon issuance of appropriate authorization.
i/ Venereal disease and rubella (for female)
j/ Residents, before expiration of 24 hour waiting period; non-residents, before expiration of 96 hour waiting period.
k/ Parental consent and/or permission of judge required.
l/ Unless parties are 18 years of age or more, or female is pregnant, or applicants are the parents of a living child born out of wedlock.
m/ Rubella for female; there are certain exceptions, and district judge may waive medical examination on proof that emergency exists.
n/ Applicants must receive information on AIDS and certify having read it.
o/ Judicial consent may be given when parents refuse to consent.
p/ Venereal diseases; test for sickle cell anemia given at request of examining physician.
q/ Any unsterilized female under 50 must submit with application for license a medical report stating whether she had immunological response to rubella, or a written record that the rubella vaccine was administered on or after her first birthday. Judge may by order dispense with these requirements.
r/ If parties are at least 16 years of age, proof of age and consent of parties in person are required. If a parent is ill an affidavit by the incapacitated parent and a physician’s affidavit required.
s/ Doctor's certificate must be filed 30 days prior to notice of intention.
t/ Venereal diseases. In WV and OK, Circuit court judge may waive requirement.
u/ Younger parties may obtain license in special circumstances.
v/ Below age of consent parties need parental consent and permission of judge, no younger than 14 for males and 13 for females.
Table Sources:
AlabamaXNone Immediately30 daysstandard14 a/ b/18 yrs$25
Alaska 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately3 monthsstandard16 c/18 yrs$25
Arizona None Immediately1 yearstandard16 c2/18 yrs$50
Arkansas None ImmediatelyNo provisionbirth certificateMale-17 c/ e/ Female- 16 c/ e/18 yrs$30 - $47
California None Immediately90 daysvalid D/Lb/ g/18 yrs$50 - $80
Colorado None Immediately30 daysD/L - passport16 c/18 yrs$20
ConnecticutXNone Immediately65 daysstandard16 c2/18 yrs$35
Delaware None1 day for residents; 4 days for nonresidents24 hours; 96 hours if both spouses are nonresidents30 daysbirth certificateMale-18 e/ Female-16 e/18 yrs$35
DCX3 days5 daysImmediatelyNo provisionbirth certificate16 a/18 yrs$35
Florida 3 days3 daysImmediately60 daysstandard16 a/ e/18 yrs$88.5 / $56 if couple takes 4 hr course
GeorgiaXNone ImmediatelyNo provisionstandard16 e/ k/18 yrs$30.00 - $40.00
Hawaii None Immediately30 daysstandard15 k/18yrs$50
Idaho None ImmediatelyNo provisionstandard16 c/18yrs$28
Illinois None1 day1 day60 daysstandard16 o/18yrs$15 - $30
IndianaXNone3 days in some countiesImmediately60 daysstandard & proof of residency17 e/18 yrs$18
Iowa 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediatelyNo provisionstandard16 k/18 yrs$30
Kansas 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately6 monthssocial security cardMale-14 k/ Female-12 k/18 yrs$50
Kentucky None Immediately30 daysstandard18 k/18 yrs$35
Louisiana None3 days3 days30 daysB/C SSC18 c/18 yrs$25
Maine 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately90 daysstandard16 c/18 yrs$20
Maryland None2 days2 days6 months18-20 D/L or B/C16 e/ r/18 yrs$35 - $55
MassachusettsX3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately60 daysstandardMale-14 k/ Female-12 k/18 yrs$4 - $25
Michigan 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately33 daysstandard (B/C)1618 yrs$20 (MI resident) / $30 (not MI resident)
Minnesota 5 days5 days from time of applicationImmediately6 months18-21 requires B/C16 k18 yrs$70 / $20 (if premarital education completed)
MississippiX3 days3 daysImmediatelyNo provisionconsent for under 21g/ k/21 yrs$21
Missouri 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediatelyNo provisionstandard15 u/18 yrs$50
MontanaXNone Immediately180 daysstandard16 k/18 yrs$30
Nebraska None Immediately1 yearSSC - req. age 191719 yrs$15
Nevada None Immediately1 yearnone16 c/18 yrs$50
New Hampshire 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately90 daysstandardMale- 14 v/ Female- 13 v/18 yrs$45
New Jersey 72 hours72 hoursImmediately30 daysstandard16 c/ e/18 yrs$28
New MexicoXNone ImmediatelyNo provisionB/C for under 2116 e/ u/18 yrs$25
New York None24 hours from time of application24 hours60 daysstandard16 v/18 yrs$20 - $30
North Carolina None Immediately60 daysB/C for under 2116 e/18 yrs$40
North Dakota None Immediately60 daysstandard1618 yrs$35
Ohio 5 days Immediately60 daysstandardMale- 18 k/ Female- 16 c/ e/18 yrs$20 - $45
OklahomaX72 hours if either applicant is under 18 Immediately30 daysstandard16 c/ e/18 yrs$25 / $5 (if marriage education completed)
Oregon 3 days3 daysImmediately60 dayspicture I.D17 z/18 yrs$60
Pennsylvania 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately60 dayssocial security16 u/18 yrs$25 - $40
Rhode Island None Immediately3 monthsnoneMa1e-18 u/ Female-16 u/18 yrs$24
South Carolina 24 hours1 day from applicationImmediatelyNo provisionstandardMale- 16 e/ Female- 14 e/18 yrs$25
South Dakota None Immediately20 daysstandard16 e/18 yrs$40
Tennessee 3 days if either applicant is under 18 Immediately30 daysstandard16 u/18 yrs$31 - $97.50
Texas None72 hours72 hours31 daysstandard (SSC)14 k/ v/18 yrs$25 - $36
Utah None Immediately30 daysstandard14 a/18 yrs$40
Vermont None Immediately60 daysstandard16 k/18 yrs$20
Virginia None Immediately60 daysstandard16 a/ e/18 yrs$30
Washington None or up to 3 days3 days from time of applicationImmediately60 daysstandard17 u/18 yrs$37 - $52
West Virginia None Immediately60 daysstandard & B/C18 e/18 yrs$23
Wisconsin 5 days6 days from time of applicationImmediately30 daysstandard & B/C1618 yrs$50 - $80 (includes $10 if waiting period is waived)
Wyoming None ImmediatelyNo provisionstandard & B/C16 u/18 yrs$25

Table 5: Marriage and Relationship Preparation and Education

StateIncentives for Marriage Preparation for AdultsMarriage Education-AdultsState Funding for Marriage Preparation and SupportRe-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
AlaskaBill. 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)  
ArizonaBill. 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    
CaliforniaBill. 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    
IllinoisBill. 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
 
MinnesotaLaw. 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 MexicoBill. SB491 introduced in 2001 that would give people who complete premarital preparation courses a $100 tax credit. Died in committee. http://legis.state.nm.usBill. See Incentives for Marriage Preparation for Adults (died)  
New York    
North Carolina    
North Dakota    
Ohio    
OklahomaLaw. 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 DakotaBill. 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  
TennesseeLaw. 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 SupportLaw. 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    

Table 6: State Tax Policies

StateState EITC by Percent of Fed. Credit and whether Refundable (2000) a/Tax Threshold (2000) for Married 2-parent family of 4 c/Tax Threshold (2000) 1-parent family of 3 c/State Policies to Address Marriage Penalty d/
Alabama $4,600$4,600Joint rate schedule e/
Alaska N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
Arizona $23,600$20,100Joint rate schedule e/
Arkansas $15,600$13,000Can file separately f/
California $36,800$35,000Joint rate schedule e/
Colorado10%-R$27,900$24,400Joint rate schedule
Connecticut $24,100$19,100N/A-flat tax
Delaware $20,300$14,700Can file separately f/
District of Columbia10%-R$18,600$14,900Can file separately f/
Florida N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
Georgia $15,300$12,100May face penalty
Hawaii $11,000$9,200Joint rate schedule e/
Idaho $20,100$14,900Joint rate schedule e/
Illinois5%- NR$14,000$12,500N/A-flat tax
Indiana $9,500$9,000N/A-flat tax
Iowa6.5%- NR$17,400$17,400Can file separately f/
Kansas10%-R$21,100$20,200May face penalty
Kentucky $5,400$5,000Can file separately f/
Louisiana $13,000$11,000Joint rate schedule e/
Maine5%- NR$23,100$20,600Joint rate schedule
Maryland10% -R or 50%-NR$25,200$24,600May face penalty
Massachusetts10%-R$20,600$19,000N/A-flat tax
Michigan $12,800$9,900N/A-flat tax
Minnesota~29%- R b/$26,800$25,600Joint rate schedule
Mississippi $19,600$14,400Can file separately f/
Missouri $14,100$12,500Can file separately f/
Montana $9,500$7,800Can file separately f/
Nebraska $18,900$15,400Joint rate schedule
Nevada N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
New Hampshire N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
New Jersey10%- R (Inc <20K)$20,000$20,000May face penalty
New Mexico $21,000$18,000May face penalty
New York22.5%- R$23,800$22,600Joint rate schedule
North Carolina $17,000$13,900Joint rate schedule
North Dakota $19,000$15,300May face penalty g/
Ohio $12,700$10,200May face penalty
Oklahoma $13,000$9,300May face penalty
Oregon5%- NR$14,800$12,700Joint rate schedule e/
Pennsylvania $28,000$21,500N/A-flat tax
Rhode Island26%- NR$25,900$24,400May face penalty g/
South Carolina $21,400$17,700May face penalty
South Dakota N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
Tennessee N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
Texas N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
Utah $15,800$12,800Joint rate schedule e/
Vermont32%- R$26,800$25,500May face penalty g/
Virginia $17,100$14,200Can file separately f/
Washington N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
West Virginia $10,000$10,000May face penalty
Wisconsin4%-43% (1-3 children)- R$20,700$17,700Joint rate schedule
Wyoming N/AN/AN/A—no income tax
Notes:
a/ Source: http://www.cbpp.org/10-18-01sfp.htm
b/ Source: http://www.cbpp.org/3-1-01sfp.pdf. Most states with EITCs (except MN) give a percent of the federal credit, so if a family is eligible for the federal EITC it is generally eligible for the state one. Minnesota's refund amount varies by earnings.
c/ Income at which families begin paying taxes; Source: http://www.cbpp.org/3-1-01sfp-pr.htm
d/ Source: http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=7&sequence=8
e/ States fully eliminate marriage penalty by allowing married couples to use rate brackets twice as wide as those available to single filers.
f/ Couples may face a penalty if they choose to file jointly when permitted to file separately.
g/ States levy a state tax as a percentage of the federal tax and thus impose a penalty proportional to the penalty at the federal level.

Table 7: Cash Assistance Policies

StateTANF: Two-Parent Family Eligibility Based Solely on Financial Circumstances a/TANF: Provide Marriage IncentivesTANF: Marriage Promotion by State WorkersChild support arrearage forgiveness upon remarriage b/
AlabamaXDisregards the earned income of a new or reconciling spouses for three months. Source: APHSA 2001 survey.  
AlaskaX   
Arizona    
ArkansasX   
California    
ColoradoX   
ConnecticutX   
DelawareX   
District of Columbia    
FloridaX   
Georgia    
HawaiiX   
IdahoX   
IllinoisX   
Indiana    
IowaX   
KansasX   
Kentucky    
LouisianaX   
Maine Stepparents of TANF children have the option to be included or excluded from the TANF program. Source: Maine Public Assistance Manual http://www.state.me.us/dhs/bfi/tanf/tanf3_40.htm.  
MarylandX   
Massachusetts    
MichiganX   
MinnesotaXStepparents are required to be included as eligible members in a TANF assistance unit. Source: APHSA 2001 survey.  
Mississippi (1) Disregard the income of a stepparent in determining a household's eligibility for welfare for the first six months after the couple marries. Source: http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/
press/REVIEW/summer2001/horn.htm

(2) Bill. SB2834 (1999 Regular Session). Died in Committee. The Department of Human Services may make a one-time lump-sum payment to any TANF participant who becomes disqualified for TANF assistance payments as a result of getting married. Source: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/
1999/html/SB/2800-2899/SB2834IN.htm

  
Missouri    
MontanaX   
NebraskaX   
NevadaX   
New Hampshire    
New JerseyXSince 1992, the state has excluded a non-needy stepparent's income in computing the grant, provided the household income does not exceed 150% poverty. Source: http://newark.rutgers.edu/
~aviglian/mcbss/chap3.htm
  
New MexicoX   
New YorkX   
North CarolinaX   
North Dakota Disregard the income of a stepparent in determining a household's eligibility for welfare for the first six months after the couple marries. Source: http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/
press/REVIEW/summer2001/horn.htm
  
OhioX   
Oklahoma Disregard all income of the new spouse for 3-6 months. Source: Stoltzfus et al. (2000). State will combine the income of cohabiting, but unmarried, couples to determine a household's eligibility for welfare. Combining Cohabitors' income will likely decrease their benefits, thus discouraging cohabitation and presumably encouraging marriage. Source: http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/
press/REVIEW/summer2001/horn.htm
Training for state workers (e.g. public health nurses, social workers) to help them teach marriage skills courses at the community level. Courses not restricted to TANF recipients. Caseworkers encouraged to discuss/mention marriage with clients. Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
 
Oregon    
Pennsylvania    
Rhode IslandX   
South CarolinaX   
South Dakota    
Tennessee Those who marry can continue to qualify for assistance and may either include or exclude the spouse from assistance group. If including the spouse in the group, his/her income is disregarded if it is below 185 percent of the need standard for the household. Source: http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv/tanfplan.pdf. Holds harmless child support arrearage owed by a father who marries the mother of his children, as long as he continues to reside in the home. (Same holds true if a woman owing child support marries the father of her children. Source: http://www.welfarereformer.org/
states/tn-wvr.htm
TexasX   
UtahX   
VermontX  Law. If arrearages accrue after support rights have been assigned and the obligor and obligee subsequently reunite, the office of child support may not take any action to collect the support arrearages, unless the reunited family has a gross income equal to or greater than 225 percent of poverty, as defined by the United States Office of Health and Human Services. Source: Vermont Statutes : TITLE 33 Human Services : PART 3 Programs and Services for Children and Youth : CHAPTER 41. OFFICE OF CHILD SUPPORT : § 4106. Assignment of rights. (e)
VirginiaX   
Washington Bill. HB5497 (1998-1999). Died in committee. Public assistance, benefit program to encourage recipients to marry. Provides that, if a recipient of public assistance marries and lives with and remains married to his or her spouse as a legally married couple for twelve months, the recipient shall receive a lump sum check at that time from the state for four times the monthly financial benefit level he or she would have received immediately following the marriage had he or she remained on public assistance. Source: http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/
billinfo/1997-98/top_index_full_report.txt
  
West VirginiaXAdds a $100 marriage incentive payment to the monthly cash benefit of any family that includes a legally married man and woman who live together. Source: Stoltzfus et al., (2000)  
WisconsinX   
WyomingX   
Notes:
a/ Source: http://www.spdp.org./tanf/categorical/2parent.pdf. Two-parent families are not subject to the work history or 100-hour rules. This enables two-parent and single-parent families to be treated the same. NOTE: Some states have more generous eligibility rules for TANF than for Medicaid (which explains why columns 1 and 5 do not match).
b/ Child support arrearages are forgiven if the non-custodial parent marries the custodial parent and the custodial parent was on public assistance. Note: this only reflects arrearage forgiveness upon remarriage; other states may forgive arrears for other reasons.
Table Sources:
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 2001. State Efforts to Promote Marriage, Family Formation and Prevent Family Disintegration. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • Stoltzfus, E., Burk, V., and G. Falk, 2000. Welfare Reform: State Programs of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Congressional Research Service: Washington, D.C.

Table 8: Medical Policies

StateMedicaid: Two-parent family eligibility based solely on financial circumstances a/Expanded Health Care Coverage to two parent families c/Medicaid Income limits for Pregnant Women
(% FPL) b/
SCHIP and State-only Coverage
AlabamaX 133 
AlaskaX 200 
ArizonaXMedicaid income disregard d/140Covers parents through SCHIP.
Arkansas  133 
CaliforniaXMedicaid income disregard.300Covers parents through SCHIP.
ColoradoX 133 
ConnecticutX 185 
DelawareXExpanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver e/200 
District of ColumbiaXMedicaid income disregard200 
Florida  185 
GeorgiaX 235 
HawaiiXExpanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver185 
IdahoX 133 
IllinoisX 200 
IndianaX 150 
IowaX 200 
KansasX 150 
Kentucky  185 
Louisiana  133 
Maine Medicaid income disregard200 
MarylandX 200 
MassachusettsX 200 
MichiganX 185 
MinnesotaXExpanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver; Medicaid income disregard275Covers parents through SCHIP.
MississippiX 185 
MissouriXExpanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver185 
MontanaXMedicaid income disregard133 
Nebraska  185 
NevadaX 133 
New Hampshire  185 
New JerseyX 185Covers parents through SCHIP.
New MexicoXMedicaid income disregard185 
New YorkXMedicaid income disregard185 
North CarolinaX 185 
North Dakota  133 
OhioXMedicaid income disregard185 
Oklahoma Medicaid income disregard185 
OregonXExpanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver; Medicaid income disregard170State provides coverage through state-only program (FHIAP)
Pennsylvania Medicaid income disregard185 
Rhode IslandXMedicaid income disregard250Covers parents through SCHIP; State provides coverage through state-only program
South CarolinaX 185 
South DakotaX 133 
Tennessee Expanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver185 
TexasX 133 
Utah  133 
VermontXExpanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver; Medicaid income disregard200 
VirginiaX 133 
WashingtonXMedicaid income disregard185State provides coverage through state-only program
West Virginia  150 
Wisconsin Expanded coverage through Medicaid 1115 waiver; Medicaid income disregard185Coverage of parents through SCHIP
Wyoming Medicaid income disregard133 
Notes:
a/ Source: http://www.spdp.org./medicaid/table_7.htm; As of March 1, 2000, California waived the 100-hour and work history rules for any new applicant family with net earnings below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.
b/ Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Facts Online at http://www.statehealthfacts.kff.org; The minimum limit is 133% of the FPL or whatever level the state had in place in December 1989 (which ever is higher). This amount ranges from 133 to 185% FPL.
c/ Source: http://statecoverage.net/issuebrief500-2.pdf
d/ The Federal government requires states to disregard $90 in monthly income for applicants' work-related expenses; under Section 1931, states have the option to expand income disregards effectively increasing Medicaid eligibility. The states noted have income disregards above the mandated $90.
e/ Section 1115 of the Social Security Act gives HHS broad authority to waive provisions in the Medicaid statute (Title XIX). Those expansions noted here aim to expand eligibility.

Table 9: State Vital Statistics

StateCondition of Vital Statistics Data a/ b/
Marriage StatisticsDivorce Statistics c/Improvement Efforts and Others
AlabamaMarriage Rates (Total, By Race of Groom, By race of groom by County, By month of occurrence), Marriages (By race of groom by county, By month of occurrence, By race of bride and groom, By previous marital status, By race of bride and groom, By age of bride by age of groom); 2000Divorce Rates (Total, By County of decree), Divorces and Annulments (Total, By duration of marriage and number of minor children, By party to whom granted, By County of decree, By race of husband and wife, By legal grounds for decree, By age of husband and wife);1998. 
AlaskaMarriages (Total, By Census Area, By Native regional corporation of occurrence, By census area of bride's residence); 1999.Divorces (Total, By census area of residence, By Native region of corporation, By type); 1999. 
ArizonaMarriages (By county of occurrence, By county of occurrence by month), Marriage Rates (By County of occurrence); 1996-1999.Dissolution of Marriage (By county of occurrence, By county of occurrence by month), Dissolution of Marriage Rates (By county of occurrence); 1996-1999. 
ArkansasMarriages (Total, By groom's county of residence and median age of bride and groom, By state, territory or country of residence of bride and groom, By day of week and month of year, By county of occurrence, By groom's county of residence); Age of groom by Age of Bride (Arkansas Residents, Arkansas Occurrences); 1999.Divorces and Annulments (Total, By County of occurrence and number of children affected, By county of occurrence and number of years of marriage, By county of occurrence); 1999. 
CaliforniaIn California, data pertaining to marriage and marriage dissolution have not been gathered nor tabulated since 1981. The decision to discontinue these activities was based on budget cuts and a prioritization of analysis of

births, deaths, and fetal deaths over marriages and dissolutions.

See Marriage Statistics. 
ColoradoMarriages (Total, By sex and age group, By previous marital status of bride and groom, By county and region), First marriages (By age and sex group), Marriage Rates (By sex and age group, By county and region); 2000.Marriage Dissolution (Total); 2000. 
ConnecticutMarriages (Total, By certain towns of occurrence); 1999.Divorces (Total); 1999. State notes that data is very unreliable as the Superior Courts are not statutorily mandated to provide data 
DelawareMarriages (By place of ceremony, By age at marriage of bride and groom, By previous marital status of bride and groom, By age of bride and groom and previous marital status, By marriage order, By race and age of groom and race of bride, By race and age of bride and race of groom, By race and education of groom and race of bride, By race and education of bride and race of groom, By education of groom and bride, By education of bride and groom, By resident status of bride and groom, By resident status of bride and groom and type of ceremony performed, By month of ceremony, By day of week), Marriage Rates (By previous Marital Status of bride and groom, By marriage order, age at marriage of bride and groom and race, By race and age of groom and race of bride, By race and age of bride and race of groom, By race and education of groom and race of bride, By race and education of bride and race of groom, By education of bride and groom, By resident status of bride and groom, By resident status of bride and groom and type of ceremony performed, By month of ceremony, By day of week, By place of ceremony), Median and Mean age of bride and groom by race and previous marital status, Remarriages by interval between marriages and By education of bride, groom;1999.Divorces (By place of decree, By age of husband and wife at time of decree and race of husband and wife, By age of husband and age of wife at the time of the decree, By duration of marriage at time of decree and number of this marriage for husband and wife, By duration of marriage at time of decree and race of husband and wife, By race of husband and wife and number of children under 18), Median and Mean age of husband and wife at time of divorce decree By race and number of this marriage, Median and mean duration of marriage in years at time of divorce decree By race and number of this marriage, Five-year average divorces/annulments rates per 1,000 population by place of decree; 1999. 
DC   
FloridaMarriages (Total, By County, By month, By race of groom and bride), Marriage rates (Total); 2000.Dissolution of Marriage (Total, By duration of marriage in years and number of minor children, By month, By county); 2000. 
GeorgiaMarriages (Total, By county, By Race) Marriage rates (Total, By county, By race); 1998.

The state notes that they did not include marriage or divorce data in their most recent publications as they no longer deem it to be reliable.

Divorces (Total, By county, By Race) Divorce rates (Total, By county, By race); 1998.Division of Public Health created cluster health profiles for many communities. The types of data and information that can be made available through EHIS are numerous and public health program officials will be encouraged to provide additional data for the system. Source: http://www.ph.dhr.state.ga.us/
inpho/statewide/ehis.shtml
HawaiiMarriages (Total, By resident status, By percent interracial, By median age, By previous marital status, By type of ceremony, By race, ), Marriage Rates (Total, By resident status); 1999.Divorces and Annulments (Total, By Median age, By percent interracial, By percent with children under 18 years, By median years married, By decree type, By resident status), Divorce Rates (Total); 1999.In 1989, the Office of Health Status Monitoring in the Hawaii Department of Health created the Hawaii Health Integrated Data System (HHIDS), a statewide system that maintains vital records. The system was developed to create uniform standards and data elements to integrate birth, death, marriage, and divorce data, which were being collected in separate databases. As of 1996, ten years of data have been captured in the system, and data are updated annually. Source: http://aspe.hhs.gov/statereg/hi/hi_fin.htm
IdahoMarriages (Total, By age of the bride and groom, By race of the bride and groom, By age of bride by previous marital status, By age of groom by previous marital status, By occurrence By residence status); 2000.Divorces (Total, By number for this marriage, By duration of marriage, By number of children, By legal grounds, By residence status); 2000. 
IllinoisMarriages (Total, By County); 2000, Marriage rates (Total); 1999.Divorces and Annulments (Total, By County); 2000, Divorce and annulment rates (Total); 1999. 
IndianaMarriages (By County. By month. By residence of bride and residence of groom. By race of bride by race of groom. By previous marital status of bride, by previous marital status of groom. By education of bride by education of groom. By age of bride by age of groom. By number of marriages. By age by previous marital status for brides and grooms) Marriage rates (By age of bride by age of groom. By age by previous marital status for brides and grooms. Median and mean age by race and previous Marital status for brides and grooms.) 1998.  
IowaMarriages (By age of groom and bride, By age of groom, By age of bride); 2000.Dissolutions (By age and by race of husband and wife, By age and by primary marriages and remainder and by husband and wife, By age of husband and wife, By duration of marriage by race of husband and wife, By number of children involving children under 18 years of age by race of husband and wife); 2000.The goal of the vital records modernization project is to improve the timeliness, availability, completeness and accuracy, as well as its efficiency in collecting, maintaining, and disseminating the data for users and providers of the system. Iowa's vital record system is a statewide network of providers and users of birth, death, and marriage data used for many legal and public health purposes. In January 1995, the department selected a vendor (JK, Inc.) to modernize the state's entire vital records system. The vendor has provided a work span through consultation with the Bureau of Vital Records that identifies areas for improvement and a work schedule for implementation, with a target date of July 1, 1997. Source: http://www.state.ia.us/government/
iitt/fullreport/hsfin026.htm
KansasMarriages (Total, By county, By premarital status of bride and by premarital status of groom, By age group of bride and by age-group of groom, By county of occurrence, By month, By education of bride and groom, By race of bride and groom), Marriage Rates (Total, By County), Average age of Marriage; 2000.Marriage Dissolution (Total, By age group of bride and by age group of groom, By duration of marriage in years, By number of minor children reported and number of minor children affected, By county of occurrence, By percent distribution by number of minor children, By race, By education, By number of marriages); 2000. 
KentuckyMarriages (Total) Marriage rates (Total); 1997.Divorces (Total) Divorce rates (Total) 1997. 
LouisianaMarriages (Total, By month of occurrence, By race, By previous marital status, By average and median age of bride and groom at this marriage by previous marital status); 1998.Final Divorces and Annulments Granted (By Parish); 1998. 
MaineMarriages (Total); 2000.Divorce (Total); 2000. 
MarylandMarriages (By resident status and type of ceremony, By resident status and type of ceremony and by region and political subdivision of occurrence, By age and previous status of bride, By age and previous marital status of groom, By age of bride and age of groom, By previous marital status and residence of bride, By previous marital status and residence of groom, By previous marital status of bride and groom and type of ceremony, By place of residence of bride and groom); 1999.Divorce and Annulments (By legal grounds, By region and political subdivision of occurrence, By party to whom decree was granted-selected areas of occurrence, By age of husband and wife at time of decree, By number of children reported under 18 years of age and duration of marriage, By number of marriages of husband and number of marriages of wife); 1999. 
MassachusettsMarriages (Total, By county, By age and previous marital status of bride and groom, By age of bride and groom, By number of marriages for bride by number of marriages for groom) Marriage rates (Total).Divorces (Total, By county) Divorce rates (Total).Massachusetts is currently in development of a comprehensive web-enabled vital statistics system (eVITALS). The first component that is expected to be ready for use is Electronic Marriage Registration (EMR). Accompanying this effort will be modifications to the certificate and electronic collection of information necessary for completion of the certificate, but not appearing on the certified copy (such as date of divorce, docket numbers of accompanying court orders, etc.) Minor modifications are also planned for the legal certificate, including addition of birthplace of parents and ability to list more than one set of parents (e.g. adoptive and biological). Additional details are available upon request. No modification of divorce file is anticipated at this time, but electronic reporting through eVITALS will be implemented in the future.
MichiganMarriages (Total, By marriages that are remarriages for brides and for grooms, By age and order of marriage for brides and for grooms, By month, By County of occurrence), Marriage rates (Total, By age, By sex, By County of occurrence) Median age at first marriage of bride and groom, Median duration of marriage at divorce decree; 2000.Divorces (Total, By number of children per decree, By County of occurrence), Divorce rates (Total, By County of occurrence)2000. 
MinnesotaMarriages (Total, By county of occurrence, By race of bride by race of groom, By age of bride by age of groom) Marriage rates (Total)Divorces (Total, By county, By age) 
MississippiMarriages (Total, By average per day, By Month, By age of groom and by age of bride, By race of groom and race of bride, By median age of bride and groom for all marriages and first marriages by race, By marriage order for bride and groom, By previous marital status for bride and groom, By residence of bride and groom and race of bride); 2000.Divorces (Total, By cause and race, By number of minor children, By number of years married and race); 2000. 
MissouriMarriages (By Age of groom, By age of bride, By age and previous marital status of bride and groom, By previous marital status of bride and groom, By race of bride by race of groom, By month), Marriage Rates (Total, By Regional Planning Commission of Recording, By County of Recording); 2000.Dissolutions and Annulments (Total, By month by type of decree, By number of previous marriages, husband by wife, By duration of marriage, By number of children affected, By petitioner by disposition of children and by whether child support awarded, By age of wife by age of husband, By race of wife by race of husband), Dissolution and Annulment rates (Total, By County of Recording, By Regional Planning Commission of Recording); 2000. 
MontanaMarriages (Total, By month of occurrence, By previous marital status and age of bride by previous marital status and age of groom, By frequency of first marriage by age of bride and age of groom, By median ages of brides and grooms), Marriage Rates (Total); 2000Marital Termination (Total), Rate of Marital Termination (Total); 2000

The state notes that divorce rates are somewhat unreliable because courts do not consistently report the data to the correct agency.

 
NebraskaMarriages (Total, By number, By county occurrence, By race of bride and groom, By number of this marriage, By previous marital status, By number of this marriage by age of bride, By number of this marriage by age of groom, By number of this marriage by age of bride and groom, By age of bride and groom, By number of first marriages by age of bride and bride and groom) Marriage rates (Total, By county occurrence); 2000.Divorces (Total, By county of occurrence, By age of husband and wife, By duration of marriage, By race of husband and wife, By settlements made, By number of children affected, By custody and number of children awarded to) Divorce rates (Total, By county of occurrence); 2000. 
NevadaMarriages (Total, By county license was purchased in and county of occurrence, By groom’s state of residence, By bride’s state of residence, By bride’s state of residence and county of occurrence, By groom’s state of residence and county of occurrence); 1999.Divorces (Total) Divorce rates (Total, By county, By county and month of divorce); 1999. 
New HampshireMarriages (Total, By county of issuance, By town and county of issuance, By number for bride and by number for groom, By age when license was issued, By education of bride and education of groom); 1998.Divorces (Total, By county issuing decree of dissolution, By duration in years for divorce occurrences, By number of marriage for husband, By number of marriage for wife, By county issuing decree of dissolution by petitioner, By legal custody of children, By number of divorces involving minor children by county issuing decree, By award of physical custody of minor children by county issuing decree of dissolution, By uncontested award of physical custody of minor children by county issuing decree, By award of physical custody of minor children in uncontested cases, By defaulted award of physical custody, By award of physical custody in minor children in defaulted cases, By contested award of physical custody of minor children by county issuing decree of dissolution, By award of physical custody of minor children in contested cases); 1998. 
New JerseyMarriages (Total, By first-time brides and grooms by age, By age of bride and age of groom, By difference in ages of bride and groom, By previous marital status, By percent of brides and grooms under 25 and under 20 years of age, By previous marital status, By county of occurrence, By county and month of occurrence, By county of occurrence), Median age at marriage, Median age at first marriage, Marriage Rates (Total); 1999.Divorces (Total, By county of occurrence) Divorce rates (Total); 1999.Recommended funding of $1.4 million is unchanged from FY 2001 for the Vital Statistics Program that is involved in the collection, recording and searches of birth, death and marriage data. It provides training to local registrars, supervises their operations and approves the appointment of local registrars. In FY 2001, the program will process 109,000 searches and issue 69,000 certified copies. Source: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/
budget/health01.pdf
New MexicoThe state does not collect or publish any data, the County Clerks are responsible for collecting all information and deciding what to release.See Marriage Statistics. 
New YorkMarriages (Total, By age of bride and age of groom, By county of occurrence and month of ceremony); 1999.Dissolutions (Total, By county of occurrence and type of decree, By duration of marriage and type of decree) Divorces (Total, By county of county of occurrence and by legal grounds, By county of occurrence and duration of marriage, By county of occurrence and number of children under 18); 1999. 
North CarolinaMarriages (Total, By county, By city, By perinatal region) Marriage rates (Total, By county, By city, By perinatal region); 2000Divorces and Annulments (Total, By county, By city, By perinatal region) Divorce and Annulment rates (Total, By county, By city, By perinatal region); 2000 
North DakotaMarriages (Total, By county of license) Marriage Rates (Total, By county); 2000.Divorces and Annulments (Total, By county of decree) Divorce and Annulment Rates (Total, By county); 2000.More detailed information is available upon request.
OhioMarriages (Total) Marriage Rates (Total); 1998.Divorces (Total) Divorce Rates (Total); 1998 
OklahomaMarriages (Total, By County) Marriage rates (Total, By county); 1998.Divorces (Total, By county) Divorce rates (Total, By county); 1998.(1) State's $10 million marriage initiative includes plans for an improved data-gathering system to document marriages and divorces in the state. Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder.bg1421.html
.
http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/
2001-02HB/HB1104_int.rtf

(2) Bill. SB 696 (2001). Failed. Would create a statewide information collection and analysis system to monitor marriages and divorces in Oklahoma. State Health Department and the Administrative Office of the Courts would develop the database. Source: http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/senate/
Week_In_Review_2001/
040204052001.html

OregonMarriages (Total, By county of occurrence) Marriage rates (Total, By county of occurrence); 2000Divorces (Total, By county of occurrence) Divorce rates (Total, By county of occurrence); 2000 
PennsylvaniaAge of groom and bride, Marriages (Total, By Month and county of occurrence, By previous marital status and race and age of bride, By previous marital status by race and age of groom, By previous marital status of bride and by type of ceremony, By previous marital status of groom and by type of ceremony, By prior marriages and by age of bride, By prior marriages and by age of groom, By state of residence of the bride and the groom); 1998.Divorces (By age of husband and age of wife, By age of husband by number of times married, By age of wife by number of times married, By County, By duration and grounds, By legal grounds, By month of occurrence, By number of children by custody by county, By party granted decree, By state of residence for husband and wife, By state where marriage was performed); 1998.Effective with 2002 events, only summary counts are being collected from counties. The summary data include total marriages by month and county of occurrence, marriages by age groups of bride and groom, total divorces by month and county of occurrence, and divorces by number of years married.
Rhode IslandMarriages (Total, By month) Marriage rates (Total, By city/town); 1997Divorces (Total, By county of occurrence, By month); 1997In December 2000 we entered into a contract with Genesis, Inc. to provide an electronic vital registration system including births, marriages, deaths, and fetal deaths. The marriage module would allow the local registrar to enter the marriage license information into the centralized database at the State Office, print out the license for the couple to bring to the ceremony, electronically track registration of the marriage record, and provide a statistical database. The funds allocated in the FY 2003 budget for implementation of the marriage module were taken to balance the state budget. Therefore, we have had to postpone implementation of the electronic marriage registration indefinitely.
South CarolinaMarriages (Total, By county, By race of bride and groom, By age of bride and groom, By age race and residential status) Marriage rates (Total, By race); 2000.Divorces (By race and age, By duration of marriage, By plaintiff and legal grounds of decree, By number of children under 18 affected by race and county) Divorce rates (Total, By race and age); 2000. 
South DakotaMarriages (Total, By county, By age group of bride and groom) Marriage rates (Total, By county) The mean, median, mode, maximum, and minimum ages of bride and groom; 2000.Divorces (Total, By county) Divorce rates (Total, By county) The mean, median, mode, maximum, and minimum length of marriage prior to termination; 2000.South Dakota will be implementing electronic marriage records in the near future. Source: Personal communication (email) with employee at the SD Dept. of Health
TennesseeMarriage Rates (Total, By county) Marriages (By county, By number of marriages according to previous marital status); 2000Divorce Rates (Total, By county); 2000More comprehensive data available upon request.
TexasMarriages (By county, By age of bride and age of groom); 2000.Divorces (By county, By age of wife and age of husband, By number of children under 18 affected by divorce); 2000. 
UtahMarriages (Total, By health district and county of occurrence, By first marriages and remarriages, By type of officiant, By education level of bride and marriage order, By health district, county of residence and age of bride, By marriages where bride is less than 20 years of age by health district and county of residence, By marriages to persons under 20,By county of occurrence and month, By county of residence of groom and county of residence of bride, By age of groom and bride, By first marriage of both bride and groom by age, By state of residence of bride and groom, By age and previous marital status of bride and groom, By age and race of bride and groom, By race of bride and groom, By previous marital status, By previous marital status education and race of groom, By previous marital status of bride and groom and type of officiant, By resident status of couples marrying and type of officiant, By number where bride is under 20 years by resident status of couples marrying and type of officiant) Marriage rates (Total, By health district and county of occurrence, By first marriages and remarriages) Median age of bride and groom by order of marriage1998.Divorces (Total, By number to persons married at less than 20 years of age, By health district, county of occurrence number and rate, By median age of husband and wife and order of marriage, By county of occurrence and month, By state in which marriage was performed and type of decree, By duration of marriage in years and type of decree, By age of husband and wife, By number of dependent children under 18 years of age and type of decree) Divorce rates (Total) Mean numbers of children per divorce and rates for children under 18 years of age, Median duration of marriage prior to divorce by divorce registration area; 1998. 
VermontMarriages (Total, By residence of bride and groom, By county of residence of bride by county of residence of groom, By age of bride by age of groom, By education of bride by education of groom, By marriage number of bride by marriage number of groom, By race of bride and groom, By month of marriage by county of marriage, By type of ceremony by previous marital status of bride and groom); 2000.Divorces (By number with children under 18, By month of occurrence, By length of separation by county of decree, By number of years married by county of decree, By number of divorces with children under 18 at time of decree by number of years married, By custody of children under 18 at time of decree, By number of children under 18 at time of decree by custody, By age of wife by age of husband at time of decree, By marriage number of wife by marriage number of husband, By length of marriage by husband's age at marriage, By length of marriage by wife's age at marriage, By education of wife by education of husband); 2000.Department of Health adapted the marriage and divorce data systems to civil unions. This included data files, data entry screens, and computer programs that transfer, check and edit the records. Source: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/
baker/cureport.htm
VirginiaMarriages (Total, By month); 2000.Divorces (Total, By month); 2000. 
WashingtonMarriages (Total, By county, By bride’s age and county where ceremony was performed, By groom’s age and county where ceremony was performed, By county of occurrence and county bride’s and groom’s residence); 2000.Divorces (By County of residence, By county of decree, By wife's age and county of decree, By husband's age and county of decree, By county of decree and county of residence, By number of children and county of wife's residence) Divorces and Legal Separations (By county of decree); 2000. 
West VirginiaMarriages (Total, By month of occurrence by county, By month of occurrence, By age of bride and groom, By previous marital status, By number of previous marriages); 2000.Divorces and annulments (Total, By county of occurrence, By county, By age of husband and wife, By duration of marriage and number of children under 18); 2000. 
WisconsinMarriages (Total, By month and county, By age of bride and groom – including remarriages), Marriage Rates (Total), Median age at first marriage and all remarriages; 2000.Divorces (Total, By county, By number of minor children affected) Divorce Rates (Total); 2000. 
WyomingMarriages (Total, By month and county of occurrence, By age of groom and age of bride, By age and previous marital status of bride and groom), Marriage Rate (By county); 2000.Divorces (By rates by county of occurrence, duration of marriage and county of occurrence, By number of children affected and county of occurrence); 2000. 
Notes:
Although states can often provide more detailed information upon request, the data presented in this report addresses those statistics that are published regularly by the states.

a/ According to Jim Weed at NCHS, the federal government no longer provides states funds to help with collection and coding of marriage and divorce data.
b/ Source: National Center for Health Statistics (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/).
c/ Data are collected by county officials (public health and courts) and sent to The State Health Department, which may or may not aggregate and publish them. The amount of detail collected at the county level varies considerably. Source: Theodora Ooms, CLASP.

Table 10: Marriage Support and Promotion

StateHome Visitation (a)Mentoring/CounselingFatherhood Programs with a Marriage Component
Alabama Law. Family Coaches Program provides mentors for TANF recipients and low-income families--program featured on 10 o'clock Saturday newscast and Monday morning news show for wider access. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey 
Alaska   
Arizona Law. HB2199 signed by governor on 04/28/00. Department of Economic Security awarded contracts to 11 organizations for Marriage and Communication Skills Programs across the state. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com listserv August 30, 2001; Also see Marriage Preparation: State Funding and Marriage Education, Adults. 
Arkansas   
California   
Colorado   
Connecticut   
Delaware   
DC   
Florida  In 1996 the Governor and legislature created the Florida Commission on Responsible Fatherhood, which funds programs in 35 counties. The Commission's policy regarding marriage and children is that strong marriages promote fatherhood and increase the likelihood that fathers will act responsibly toward their children and thus state-level policymakers should promote marriage preservation. Source: http://www.floridafathers.org
Georgia   
HawaiiStatewide home visiting program; families with unstable marriages are one target group; unclear if visitors focus on marriage. Source: http://www.futureofchildren.org  
Idaho   
Illinois   
Indiana   
Iowa   
Kansas   
Kentucky   
Louisiana   
Maine   
Maryland   
Massachusetts   
Michigan Law. $250,000 approved in July 2001 for a marriage initiative run by the Family Independence Agency. County-level providers will work with unwed parents in 5 counties. The focus is on promoting responsible fatherhood and parenting skills, but couple counseling is also available. (Obligatory for TANF recipients and open on voluntary basis for others). Source: http://archives.his.com/smartmarriages/msg01567.html 
Minnesota   
Mississippi  The Mississippi Responsible Fatherhood Initiative is funded with TANF dollars and all goals of TANF are addressed in fatherhood training programs, including two-parent families and marriage. Source: MS Department of Health and Human Services.
Missouri   
Montana   
Nebraska   
Nevada   
New Hampshire   
New Jersey   
New Mexico   
New York   
North CarolinaHome visiting program is geared toward new parents. Includes relationship-building skills. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey  
North Dakota   
Ohio   
OklahomaState's home visiting program, Children First, is beginning to work with the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative to include training to nurse home visitors to focus on relationships between parents and when appropriate refer them to workshops. Source: Theodora Ooms (1998).(1) 2000 Initiative includes relationship skills workshops for unmarried and married couples (See also Marriage Education - Adults). Source: Theodora Ooms, CLASP (2) 2000 marriage initiative includes establishment of a marriage resource center to provide information on marriage and mentor couples. Source: http://www.Heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
 
Oregon State pilot programs focus on strengthening a couple's relationship by building communication skills and helping them to manage and resolve conflict. Source: APHSA 2001 Survey 
Pennsylvania  The Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative approaches the subject of marriage in the fatherhood program as the best environment (but not the only one) in which to raise children. It teaches the value of marriage in the fatherhood centers and school programs. Fatherhood programs also have resource centers with information on building strong marriages. Source: Bob Randall, Fatherhood Coordinator, PA Fatherhood Initiative.
Rhode Island   
South Carolina   
South Dakota   
Tennessee   
Texas  Since 1999, the Texas Fatherhood Initiative has promoted fatherhood statewide. Marriage promotion will soon be part of the effort in the form of training to community-based organizations on how to promote marriage within the context of a fatherhood program. Also, TFI staff make marriage part of public education (e.g., when interviewed by media often talk about benefits of a healthy marriage for children). Source: Christopher Brown, Texas Fatherhood Initiative.
UtahGovernor's Commission on Marriage will use TANF funds for four different projects, one of which is support for fragile families. State will collaborate with home visiting programs to get marriage enrichment materials into homes of fragile families. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com.Governor's Commission on Marriage will use TANF funds for four different projects, one of which is support for fragile families. Vouchers offered for counseling, mediation, and attendance at workshops or conferences. Another expands Utah State University Extension Services (available in all counties). Utah State will develop and maintain a web site that includes marriage enrichment information and links to other service sites. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com 
Vermont   
Virginia  Statewide, state-funded fatherhood campaign since 1996. One aspect brings together local community-based providers for workshops on developing and managing effective fatherhood programs. Program includes information on ways to promote sound marriages for program participants. Source: http://www.fatherhood.org/va.htm
Washington   
West Virginia   
Wisconsin   
Wyoming   
Notes:
a/ As of 2001, 21 states used TANF funding for home visitation programs. It is unclear whether marriage promotion is on of the TANF goals emphasized by these state programs. Source: Susan Frankel, Prevent Child Abuse America.
Table Sources:
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 2001. State Efforts to Promote Marriage, Family Formation and Prevent Family Disintegration. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • Brown, Christopher. Texas Fatherhood Initiative. Correspondence with author. September 6, 2001.
  • Frankel, Susan. Prevent Child Abuse America. Correspondence with author. October 23, 2001.
  • Mississippi Department of Health and Human Services. Mississippi Responsible Fatherhood Initiative. Conversation with author. September 8, 2001.
  • Ooms, Theodora, 1998. Towards More Perfect Unions: Putting Marriage on the Public Agenda. Family Impact Seminar: Washington, D.C.
  • Randall, Bob. Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative. Correspondence with author. October 26, 2001.

Table 11: Youth Education and Development

StateSchool-based Marriage EducationAbstinence Until Marriage Education a/
Alabama Law. P.L. 104-93. A media campaign that consists of radio/television public service announcements, news releases, abstinence-only productions, printed material, a web site and program incentives/enhancements. Source: http://www.adph.org/abstinence/
Default.asp?TemplateNbr=0&TemplateId=560&DeptId=112
Alaska  
ArizonaBill. HB2462 bill introduced in 2000 failed in Senate. Would establish a fund for the Department of Education to distribute TANF monies to public schools for marriage and parenting classes. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/legtext/
44leg/2r/summary/s.2462fs_revised.doc.htm
Bill. HB2115 bill introduced in 2000. Held in committees. The sum of $500,000 is appropriated from the state general fund to the office of community and family health services in the department of health services in fiscal year 2000-2001 to implement abstinence-based teenage pregnancy prevention program established pursuant to this act. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/l egtext/
44leg/2r/bills/hb2115p.htm
.  Also, as part of a larger marriage skills program financed with TANF dollars, there is a teen pregnancy prevention campaign.
Arkansas  
California  
Colorado  
Connecticut  
Delaware  
DC  
FloridaLaw. In 1998, governor signed law requiring marriage skills as part of high school curriculum. "The Florida marriage Preparation and Preservation Act of 1998". Source: http://www.marriagemovement.org/
html/report.html
 
Georgia (1) Law. State receives $1.5 million in federal funds for abstinence education activities and uses a variety of strategies, including a media campaign designed to motivate youths to abstain from sex until marriage. Source: APHSA 1999 survey.

(2) Law. During 1997 the Georgia General Assembly appropriated $9 million in state and federal funds for Governor Zell Miller's teenage pregnancy prevention initiative, to be implemented by the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) beginning in FY 98. Together with workfirst, the aim is to reduce the rate of sexual activity among teens by teaching abstinence. Source: http://www.legis.state.ga.us/
departments/dhr/teenp.html

Hawaii Programs funded under Section 510 of Title V define abstinence education as the program "teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity." Source: http://www.agi-usa.org/tables/3316601t.html.
Idaho  
Illinois Education program promotes abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the standard for all school age children. Source: APHSA 2001 survey.
Indiana The Indiana RESPECT initiative uses State Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention funds and Federal Sexual Abstinence Education Block Grant funds to fund a Community Grant Program and Statewide Media Campaign. http://www.in.gov/isdh/programs/mch/respect/update.htm. The program teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity; Teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects; Teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents, and society. Source: http://www.in.gov/isdh/programs/mch/respect/respect%20federal%20II.pdf
Iowa The state has two sources of funding (federal abstinence education funds and state Department of Health funds). Federal funds are used to support organizations that stress abstinence until marriage; 52 organizations rely on federal funds statewide. Source: APHSA 1999 survey.
Kansas  
Kentucky  
Louisiana  
Maine  
Maryland Programs funded under Section 510 of Title V define abstinence education as "teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school age children." Source: http://www.agi-usa.org/tables/3316601t.html
Massachusetts (1) Programs funded under Section 510 of Title V define abstinence education as "teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school age children." www.agi-usa.org/tables/3316601t.html. (2) The Abstinence Education Media Campaign was developed through a federal grant under welfare reform targets 9-14 year olds with the clear message that supports abstinence outside of marriage and the benefits of waiting. Source: APHSA 1999 survey.
Michigan Programs funded under Section 510 of Title V define abstinence education as "teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school age children." Source: http://www.agi-usa.org/tables/3316601t.html
Minnesota  
Mississippi Abstinence education funds support community organizations that teach children ages 10 to 19 the rewards of remaining abstinent until marriage. Source: APHSA 1999 survey.
Missouri Department of Health program promotes abstinence-only education through schools and community-based organizations with the purpose of educating adolescents to delay sexual activity until marriage. Source: APHSA 2001 survey.
Montana Through the Montana Abstinence Partnership (MAP) program, Montana is committed to providing funding to Montana communities to promote abstinence-only education that emphasizes abstinence until marriage. Source: http://www.dphhs.state.mt.us/hpsd/index.htm
Nebraska State awards funds, curricula, training and technical assistance to six communities with the highest teen birth rates to develop strategies to promote abstinence until marriage. Source: APHSA 1999 survey.
Nevada  
New HampshireThe Loving Well Project is a literature-based character education program that devotes a major section of readings to marriage. It is being piloted and might be adopted statewide. Source: Nancy McLaren, Boston University. 
New Jersey  
New MexicoBill. SB794 (2001 Regular Session). Died in committees; Called for the development of a high school curriculum teaching the value and benefits of marriage, conflict resolution, and other social skills. Source: http://legis.state.nm.us/ 
New York  
North Carolina Law. G.S. 115C-81(e1) mandates that "a comprehensive school health education . …be developed and taught…." The statute mandates that one component of that program must be "abstinence-until-marriage education." Thus by the plain language of the statute, abstinence education is a required part of the comprehensive school health program which must be taught at all schools. Source: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/
curriculum/health_old/abstinenceqa.html
North Dakota  
Ohio  
Oklahoma One of the goals of the state's Abstinence Education Project is to increase the percent of teens that indicate they have definite ideas and values about why they should wait until marriage to engage in sex. Source: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/oaep/index.html
Oregon $1.1 million program funded by TANF dollars entitled Students Today Aren't Ready for Sex that is designed to provide youth with the information and skills needed to postpone sexual activity until marriage. APHSA 2001 survey.
PennsylvaniaThe Partners Project. A Curriculum for Preserving marriages is a course that is designed to give high school teenagers a first-hand understanding of the challenges in a marriage before they marry. It teaches the relationship skills essential to creating a lasting partnership. Source: http://www.abanet.org/family/partners/ b/ 
Rhode Island  
South CarolinaThe Loving Well Project is a literature-based character education program that devotes a major section of readings to marriage. It was adopted by the Health Department and used statewide for five years but is no longer used statewide. Source: Nancy McLaren, Boston University.Law. State policy on sex education requires the instructor to "stress the importance of abstaining from sexual activity until marriage" and to "help students develop skills to….abstain from sexual activity." www.agi-usa.org/pubs/journals/gr040404.html. State's Title V abstinence program also focuses on marriage. One grantee provides abstinence education to middle and high school students statewide. Book "Why Marriage Matters" used to design curriculum. Curriculum includes discussion of marriage as acceptable and the normal standard. Source: Anne Badgley, Heritage Community Services.
South DakotaConnections Curriculum. The Dibble Fund. South Dakota subsidizes schools to use the Connections Curriculum. Currently, 19 schools use it. The curriculum focuses on marriage and relationships with practical skills in communication. The audience is high school students. Source: Kay Reed, The Dibble Fund. c/ 
Tennessee Law. Public Law 104-103. Currently, Tennessee funds 18 community-based abstinence only education projects across the state. They are charged with providing curricula and activities focusing on "abstinence until marriage," as well as life skills. Source: http://www.state.tn.us/health/MCH/
abstinenceeducation.htm
.
Texas  
UtahProposed and failed. (2001) The project did not receive funding from the Department of Workforce Services as a part of the governor's commission. Project for marriage education in high schools. A marriage component to be added to civics classes entitled "Adult Roles and Responsibilities." Source: http://archives.his.com/smartmarriages/
msg01560.html
 
Vermont  
Virginia (1) When the state received the initial federal funds for abstinence education, the first year's initiative involved a statewide media campaign to reduce sexual activity before marriage. Source: APHSA 1999 survey.

(2) Virginia’s Partners in Prevention program began in FY 1998 and receives $1 million from TANF each year. The program seeks to educate young adults and teenagers on the benefits of waiting until marriage to conceive a child to ensure healthy, happy families. Strategies include media campaigns, direct intervention, and public forums. The goal of Partners in Prevention is to reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock births within the State of Virginia, while reducing the incidence of abortion. Source: Center for Public Policy in the Virginia Commonwealth University 2001 Report.

Washington  
West Virginia  
WisconsinBill. AB125 (2001) would require instruction in marriage and parental responsibility be part of any public school curriculum including human sexuality. Source: http://www.smartmarriages.com/
wisconsin.sex.marriage.ed.html
 
Wyoming  
Notes:
a/ Regarding Section 510 of Title V, all states, except California, accepted funding for abstinence education; abstinence is defined in eight different ways. States can not violate a definition but can choose to emphasize particular definitions. The states noted here selected marriage-related definitions as the focus of their programs or have a notable marriage element in the program.
b/ The Partners Project is an ABA program offered to high schools nationwide. While the curriculum is available for purchases to all states, some state districts have been more aggressive in trying to implement the program in their curriculum than other states. In addition to Pennsylvania, whose school districts have purchased nearly half of all copies of the 10-week course, the following states have also purchased copies of the program: California, Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas.
c/ The Connections Curriculum contains two curricula. Both curricula combine knowledge about marriage and relationships with practical skills in communication, learning about self and building relationships with others. While the curricula are available for purchases to teachers in all states, teachers in some states have been more aggressive in using The Connections Curriculum in their courses. Almost 300 California teachers have purchased the program as a supplement for their courses.
Table Sources:
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 2001. State Efforts to Promote Marriage, Family Formation and Prevent Family Disintegration. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 1999. State Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Abstinence Education Efforts. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • Badgley, Anne. Heritage Community Services. Conversation with Author. September 6, 2001.
  • McLaren, Nancy. Boston University, Loving Well Project. Conversation with Author. March 18, 2001.
  • Reed, Kay. The Dibble Fund for Marriage Education. Correspondence with Author. February 28, 2002.

Table 12: Specialty Programs

StateState Regulates Marriage/ Family Therapists a/Professional DevelopmentRespite Programs for Parents of Children with Disabilities b/Programs for Incarcerated Parents c/
AlabamaX Glendwood, Inc. 
AlaskaX   
ArizonaX Community Information and Referral, Casa De Los Ninos 
ArkansasX Arkansas Disability Coalition, Camp Alersgate 
CaliforniaX   
ColoradoX Rocky Mountain Village Easter Seal Camp 
ConnecticutX United Cerebral PalsyFamilies in Crisis. Isaiah 61:1, Inc. Provides family reunification support. Source: http://www.fcnetwork.org/
Dir2001/dir2001al-fl.html
Delaware  Respite Care 
DC   Prison Fellowship Ministries. At PF Marriage Seminars prisoners and their spouses learn how to work through marital problems aggravated by imprisonment. Volunteer mentor-couples are encouraged to model stable family relationships. Source: http://www.fcnetwork.org/
Dir2001/dir2001al-fl.html
FloridaX   
GeorgiaX Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta 
HawaiiX Easter Seal Society-Hawaii, HUGS 
IdahoX Idaho Children's Trust Fund$200,000 in TANF dollars are being used to encourage the stabilization of families by offering services for families with a previously incarcerated individual. Source: APHSA 2001 survey.
IllinoisX Alden Village, Little Angels Nursing Home, Interim Health Care, PARC Respite Care Center 
IndianaX Camp Milhouse 
IowaX Lutheran Social Service of Iowa, Easter Seal Society of Iowa, Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Central Industries 
KansasX Associated Youth Services, Make a Difference Info Network, Wichita Children's Home 
KentuckyX Lexington Child Abuse Council, Disabled Children's Program, Hazelwood Center, Home of the Innocents 
LouisianaX Developmental Disabilities Council, Southern Ingenuity, Louisiana Federation of Families for Children's Men 
MaineX   
MarylandX(1) Pre-marital counseling bill specifies qualifications of those who can teach courses (social workers, psychologists, specially trained religious leaders). Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
.

(2) Law. SB547. Authorizing the State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists to adopt regulations regarding practicing under supervision as a licensed graduate professional counselor or a licensed graduate marriage and family therapist; providing qualifications and requirements for practice under supervision; etc. Source: http://mlis.state.md.us/

Friends of the Family, Easter Seals Camp, Caring Communities, Way Station 
MassachusettsX Delta Projects, Respite By the Sea 
MichiganX Provides TANF grants for families with disabled children who receive Medicaid to allow them to remain in the family home and provide in-home respite care and family support services (Source: APHSA 2001 survey); Friends of the Family, Easter Seals Camp, Caring Communities, Way Station 
MinnesotaXMinnesota Department of Children Families and Learning requires counselors to be licensed before being counselors in parent education programs.Family Support Grants are available to families with disabled children to purchase respite care and other services (Source: APHSA 2001 survey); PATH 
MississippiX   
MissouriX Camp Fire 
Montana  Montana State Respite Services 
NebraskaX Nebraska Department of Social Services, Nebraska Family Support Network 
NevadaX Give me a Break, Respite Outreach Program, Special Recreation Services 
New HampshireX Easter Seal Society of New Hampshire 
New JerseyX   
New MexicoX   
New York  The New York Services of the Handicapped 
North CarolinaX State's Albemarle Health Care provides in-home or facility based care by trained nurses at a parent's request (Source: APHSA 2001 survey); Pitt Respite, Easter Seal Family Support Services, Special Children's School 
North Dakota  Developmental Disabilities Division, Easter Seal Society of North Dakota 
Ohio  Specialized Alternatives For Families & Youth, St. Rita's Medical Center 
OklahomaX Marriage Initiative recognizes that families with disabled children have high divorce rates. Respite services part of the initiative (Source: APHSA 2001 survey); OASIS Information and Referral, OK Department of Human Services 
OregonX Providence Child Center, United Cerebral Palsy, Upward Bound Camp for Persons with Special Needs 
PennsylvaniaX Kairos Health Systems, Ventilator Assisted Children's Home Program, Camp JoyThe Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative has a program that targets incarcerated and paroled fathers to help them make the transition to their families and communities. Marriage is approached as the best environment in which to raise children. Source: Bob Randall, Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative
Rhode IslandX Training Through Placement, Groden Center 
South CarolinaX Shiphrah Ministries, South Carolina Department of Disabilities, Special Connection 
South DakotaX Easter Seal Society of South Dakota, South Dakota Department Of Human Services 
TennesseeX Easter Seal Society, Tennessee Respite Network 
TexasX Children with Special Health Care Needs program provides family support services including respite, specialized day care, counseling and home modifications that help a family care for their child with a disability (Source: APHSA 2001 survey); Hermann Respite House, Ramiro Estrada Respite Station 
UtahXConducts teacher education in marriage issues through continuing education conferences featuring marriage experts. Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
COSH, United Cerebral Palsy of Utah 
VermontX Children with Special Health Needs, Family Infant and Toddler Project, Department of Mental Health 
VirginiaX Camp Jordan, Camp Virginia Jaycee, Richmond Area Arc-Camp Baker Services, Children's Place, Camp Bruce McCoy, Camp Rainbow, Children's Home Society, Good Neighbor Village, Henrico County Therapeutic Recreation, St. Joseph's Villa Respite, Super Summer Camp, Virginia Department Of Social Services 
WashingtonX Ashley House, Easter Seal 
West Virginia WV Family Support Program  
WisconsinX Respite Care Assoc. Of Wisconsin, Easter Seal Society of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Elks 
WyomingX Division of Developmental Disabilities 
Notes:
a/ Source:  http://www.aamft.org/resources/Online_Directories/boardcontacts.htm unless otherwise noted; an "X" indicates that the state regulates marriage and family therapists through a licensing/certification board.
b/ Source: ARCH National Respite Network (http://www.chtop.com/ARCH/index.htm), unless otherwise noted. Programs listed are statewide; blank cells indicate local or no program.
c/ Programs are noted only if the program is state-funded and statewide.
Table Sources:
  • American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), 2001. State Efforts to Promote Marriage, Family Formation and Prevent Family Disintegration. APHSA: Washington, D.C.
  • Randall, Bob. Pennsylvania Fatherhood Initiative. Correspondence with author. October 26, 2001.

Attachment B Expert Panel

Expert Panel Members
Nancy Duff Campbell
Co-President
National Women’s Law Center
Anne Marie Lancour
Assistant Staff Director
ABA Center on Children and the Law
Kathryn Dyjak
Senior Legislative Associate
American Public Human Services Association
Rebecca Maynard
University Trustee
University of Pennsylvania
Pat Fagan
Fellow
The Heritage Foundation
Lee Posey
Policy Specialist
National Conference of State Legislatures
Susan Golonka
Program Director for Welfare Reform
National Governors’ Association
Wendell Primus
Director of Income Security
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
Ron Haskins
Senior Fellow
The Brookings Institution
Diane Sollee
Director
Coalition for Marriage, Family & Couples Education