1 The authors would like to thank the following individuals for reviewing a draft of the interim report: Nancy Duff Campbell, Kathryn Dyjak, Patrick Fagan, Susan Golonka, Ron Haskins, Lee Posey, and Mark Nowak.
2 Arizona, Louisiana, and Utah.
3 Arizona, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Utah.
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, except the District of Columbia, had an activity in at least one of
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-five states had policies in these areas of marriage and abstinenc
In addition to marriage preparation initiatives, states have begun to take 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, m
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-leve
Policy makers and others have suggested that transfer programs — particularly Medicaid and TANF — create a disincentive to marriage because recipients risk becoming ineligible for benefits if they marry. In fact, the disincentive applies equally to two-parent families with children in common, even if they are cohabiting and not married. With
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. 23 Couples with similar incomes tend to face marriage penalties (i.e., the couple pays more than the combined taxes of two individuals
All jurisdictions have some requirements around the issuance of marriage licenses. For example, ten require a blood test. Twenty-one require a waiting period between the license application date and the receipt of the license (ranging from 24 hour to 5 days). Twenty-five require a waiting period between the license and the ceremony (ranging from 7
The second area of interest is whether states have proposed or implemented policies to change divorce laws or procedures. These policies generally sought to slow the divorce process. They educate parents about the effects of divorce and provide the opportunity for parents to stop and think about the consequences of what they are undertaking. We ex
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 tha
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.
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. While the report was reviewed by
Submitted to: Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
The Lewin Group
Karen Gardiner, Mike Fishman
Plamen Nikolov, Stephanie Laud
With the Assistance of Theodora Ooms, Center for Law and Social Policy
National Vital Statistics System
National Vital Statistics System
National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, Centers for Disease Control of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services