NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Marriage Counseling Law

July 5, 2001

Minnesota has joined a handful of states offering couples a break on their marriage license fee if they take a premarital education course. In an effort to reduce divorce and domestic violence, the course includes communication and conflict management skills, plus a compatibility inventory.

  • The Minnesota law is the first to specify 12 hours of instruction and to specify course content -- although the course itself can be taught by any of specified types of professionals.
  • The state is offering couples $50 off on their marriage licenses if they take the class.
  • Florida, Maryland and Oklahoma already reduce license fees for those taking premarital courses.

Gov. Jesse Ventura (Reform) opposed the marriage counseling bill, which was part of larger appropriations bill he signed. Ventura said it was unnecessary government intervention in people's lives and discriminated against those who choose not to participate.

Source: Karen S. Peterson, "Minn. Law Encourages Premarital Training," USA Today, July 5, 2001.


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