West Virginia Legislature Takes Bold Step in Strengthening Marriage


The Family Policy Council of West Virginia:

On the final day of the 2012 Legislative Session, the West Virginia State Legislature approved H.B. 4605 a bill creating a premarital education option to applicants for marriage licenses in the state. The measure is aimed at strengthening the more than 13,000 marriages and reducing the more than 9,000 divorces that take place every year in West Virginia.

“Our government should be doing everything it can to strengthen marriages in West Virginia,” said Jeremiah Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of WV. “We are grateful that this legislature is encouraging men and women to start their marriages on secure footing by encouraging them to pursue premarital education.”

H.B. 4605, which now travels to the Governor’s desk for his signature, seeks to create a community partnership, with pastors, counselors, and social workers, to address the growing problem of divorce in West Virginia. Under the bill, the marriage license fee is increased by $20, but that increase is waived if the couple undergoes at least four (4) hours of premarital education.

...Research concludes that couples who undergo premarital education prior to their nuptials have a 30% less likely chance of ending their marriage in divorce. The state’s 9,000+ divorces cost taxpayers between $20,000 and $30,000 per divorce or an approximate burden to taxpayers in the amount of $230 million annually. If the state’s divorce rate is cut by just 2% annually, West Virginia stands to save over $5 million every year.