Utah has joined the growing list of states who are giving a discount to couples who participate in six hours of premarital counseling before getting married. The state will discount the cost of the marriage certificate by $20 if the education is completed at least 14 days prior to applying for the license. Lawmakers are hopeful that retailers will also give participating couples a discount. Only couples who apply online for their licenses will receive the discount. They can choose any source they desire to provide the counseling.
Is Premarital Counseling Effective?
The intent behind the law is to lower the divorce rate in the state. About 25,000 people choose to get married in the state each year, and about 10,000 of those marriages end in divorce. The legislature wants to learn if premarital counseling is effective in lowering that rate. The law will expire in five years if the legislature does not renew it.
Improving Current Utah Marriage Statics
Currently, about 30 percent of couples choose to receive counseling before marriage. The state hopes that the small incentive will raise that rate to 50 percent by the time the five-year-trial period has passed. All courses will cover effective communication skills, problem-solving and commitment to marriage. Individual providers may expand on the basic framework as they desire.
Supporting the Work of the Utah Marriage Commission
If a couple chooses not to participate, then the money goes to the Utah Marriage Commission. This commission works to help strengthen all marriages in the state. They maintain a data-bank of research-based articles on marriage and have partnered with many high schools in the state to provide marriage information before students graduate.
Unfortunately, it may be too late to save some marriages. Then, you need a good divorce lawyer at your side to help you win the fairest settlement.