State Representative Seeks to Curb High Divorce Rates in Florida
The divorce rate in Florida is too darn high, says state Representative Clay Yarborough. Although his attempt to pass a similar bill fell through during the last legislative session, Yarborough is trying his luck again. The bill, called the “Guide to a Healthy Marriage Act,” would require those applying for a marriage in Florida to read an informational pamphlet entitled, you guessed it, “Guide to a Healthy Marriage.” The bill seeks to reduce the number of divorces in Florida. The state has the 7th highest divorce rate per capita. Around 1.6% of those married in the state will file for divorce this year.
Among the highest divorce rates were southern states like Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky. Among the lowest were northern states like New Jersey, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
The Marriage Education Committee
The bill would create a requirement for the Governor of Florida to appoint two members to something called the Marriage Education Committee. The entire committee would have six members. Two more would be appointed by the president of the senate, and another two would be appointed by the speaker of the house.
This committee would create a pamphlet that all couples considering marriage would be required to read prior to entering the marriage.
What’s in the Healthy Marriage Resources Guide?
According to the bill, the guide must include:
- Resources regarding conflict resolution, communication skills, financial responsibilities, domestic violence resources, and child rearing responsibilities;
- Current information to assist in creating a long-term marriage;
- Information related to premarital education and information to restore a marriage that is headed toward divorce;
- Other resources related to restoring a marriage.
The role of the Marriage Committee will be to raise funds from private donors to fund the printing of the marriage guide. Additionally, the Marriage Committee will have the ultimate say over what is included in the guide (so long as it meets minimum requirements) and the layout of the guide.
The bill would require the clerk at the circuit court to post a copy of this guide on their website. The clerk is also required to make the guide available to those applying for a marriage.
How Would the New Law Work?
The bill would be put into place on July 1, 2020. If it passes, those applying for a marriage license would be required to sign a sworn statement that both parties have read the pamphlet prior to applying for their marriage license. The statement would be an affidavit that is signed under oath. If you have not read the pamphlet but said that you have, you might be charged with perjury.
Rep. Yarborough and those who support the bill believe that the costs related to marriage on the court are unnecessarily high and create a drain on our tax dollars. Their solution to the problem is a pamphlet that all Florida residents are required to read under penalty of perjury.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney Today
If your marriage no longer fits in with your current goals, the West Palm Beach divorce attorneys at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates can help you file for divorce. Talk to us today for more information.