One of the truths from research is that through premarital preparation courses and programs divorces are reduced and healthy marriages supported. This means couples have to be encouraged to engage in activities related to premarital preparation, usually marriage education and premarital counseling. A number of states have started offering incentives through their laws, usually in a reduced marriage license fee given to couples who choose to participate in marriage education or premarital counseling in preparation for marriage.
These states include Texas whose marriage license fee drops by $60, Tennessee whose marriage license varies but lowered by $40, Oklahoma that reduces its $50 marriage license to just $5 with premarital counseling, Minnesota whose $100 marriage license fee is abridged to $30 with the program, Maryland whose incentive varies just like that of Georgia while Florida's marriage license of $93.50 is compacted by $32.50 after a few hours of premarital preparation.
The premarital preparation incentive in Texas is usually done within the Twogether program, whose main aim is enhancing children wellbeing by offering relationship and marriage education skills provided by relationship, marital and pre-marital enhancement classes.
Couples are required to complete just 8 hours of educative premarital classes in the process benefiting from the $60 waiver of the marriage license fee. As a result couples, who complete classes, end up improving their relationship, communicate better, share feelings, disagree without outbursts and fights, feel and understand their partners better among other benefits.
Benefits of premarital education include enhanced conflict resolution and communication skills enriching their relationship, learning successful marriage components, enjoy the $60 discount on their marriage license, and waiver of a wait of three days for the license.
Marriage educators, mental health licensed professionals, clergy designees or the clergy usually lead the classes.
In Tennessee, a woman and man separately, or together, who've completed a course on premarital preparation complying with the state law is exempted from paying the $60 fee imposed. The course should never be below four hours and has to be completed within one year before the marriage license application. Verification of the course completion has to be done through a valid certificate of completion filed with the application of a marriage license from the individual offering the course.
The course includes instructions on communication skills, conflict management, financial responsibilities, and parenting and children responsibilities and can be offered by professional counselors, clinical pastoral therapists, psychological examiners, religious institution representative, licensed family and marital therapists, clinical social worker and psychologist among others. These are professionals who have to meet the guidelines established by the county judicial district offering the license.
In this state, attending four hours of premarital preparation reduces the marriage license fee to just $5. The premarital counseling program has to be carried out by a religious institution official leader or representative, health professional (those practicing psychology, psychiatry, social worker licensed in marriage license, family and marital licensed therapists or professional licensed counselor) or individuals trained and authorized by marriage education recognized national trainers such as the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program.
After successfully completing the program the provider of the counseling program issues a signed certificate stating the persons named as having successful completed all the requirements of the premarital counseling for a minimum of four hours.
The marriage license fee in Minnesota is $115 but completing a 12-hour marriage education reduces it to $40. To qualify, the parties have no choice but submit a dated and signed statement from a premarital education provider confirming it was provided.
The education should be provided by an ordained or licensed minister, designee of the minister or individual authorized with the solemnization of marriage and authorized family and marriage therapists. Names indicated in the educator statement and those of the parties have to be identical.
A marriage license fee discount is offered by the state of Maryland if the couple has gone through a premarital preparation education one year before they apply for the license. The discount provided is determined by the governing body of the county and consists of instructions on parenting and children responsibilities, financial responsibilities, communication skills and management of conflict for four hours, minimum.
Those allowed to provide the premarital preparation program include licensed social workers, clinical professional counselors, family and marriage clinical therapists, religious institution official representative and other qualified individuals as per the governing body of the county.
A woman or man applying for a marriage license can be waived from paying the fee if they have successfully gone through a premarital education course that qualifies. It has to be a minimum of six hours to apply and includes marital issues as well as parenting and responsibilities, extended roles of the family, financial responsibilities, communication skills and conflict management. The course has to be completed 12 months before the license is applied for.
Premarital education can be carried out by psychiatrists, professional social workers, counselors, and family and marriage therapists, clergy active members, among others.
The provider then has to present each of the participants with a premarital education certificate after finishing the program successfully.
A couple, woman or man intending to apply for a marriage license in Florida can separately or together go through a premarital preparation program for a minimum of 4 hours to enjoy a reduced marriage license fee. Each of the individuals has to complete the course and show this by filing a valid application of completion from the provider of the course. The certificate also shows if the course was completed by electronic medium, video or personal instruction.
After receiving the certificate of completion and presenting it with the application of the marriage license the individuals will enjoy a $32.50 fee waiver. The course includes financial responsibilities, communication skills, and management of conflict, parenting and children responsibilities.
Those allowed to participate in the provision of the course include licensed psychologists, clinical social workers, family and marriage therapists, health mental counselor and religious institution official representative or other judicial circuit designates such as school counselors.
It's worth noting that a marriage license waiver doesn't mean there're no other fees to be paid. For instance, the premarital preparation course, if charged, has to be paid for by individual(s) getting married.