Research indicates that premarital preparation can be an effective strategy in supporting healthy marriage and reducing the risk divorce, in some cases as much as 30 percent. Some states have created an incentive in state law to encourage couples to participate in premarital counseling or some form of premarital eduction.
For example, in Minnesota a marriage license cost $100. Couples who have taken part in premarital counseling get the license at the reduced rate of $30. Here is the issue, the couple must spend 12 hours in counseling at their own expense to save $70 dollars on their marriage license. One has to wonder how much of an incentive that really is.
The premarital counseling can cost up to $500. Would you spend $500 to save seventy dollars? I didn't think so. It is commendable that some states are offering the incentive but couples in love and heading to the alter are blinded by love, spending money on flowers, dresses and receptions. Their hearts are full and the last thing on their mind is the fact that they may become part of the nearly 50% who divorce.
It's just a wee bit too early in the relationship for these couples to understand the importance of counseling. Heck, the majority of them don't even know what marriage is yet.
I have a better idea! Why not make premarital counseling a part of state law, a requirement for anyone who marries and regardless of how many times they marry. If legislators are so concerned about marriage and families the fact that counseling reduces the risk of divorce by 30% should be enough of an incentive for such a law to become law that requires counseling.
The state is more than willing to become involved in our marriage should we file for a divorce, shouldn't they be just as willing to become involved beforehand if it could possibly keep down the cost to the state once a couple with children enter the Family Court System?