Marriage, most of us dreamed of a perfect life with a significant other since we can remember. The white picket fence, little young ones of our own, and a happy ever after. No one ever told us that it would be hard work. For centuries, married couples asked themselves what makes the perfect long-lasting “Happy Marriage”? According to Jacksonville’s Republican Rep. Clay Yarborough found the perfect recipe to keep Florida’s divorce rate down. On Wednesday the 9thof October, 2019, Rep. Clay Yarbrough filed the Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage bill.
Under this purposed law, Floridians would be required to access information or provide documentation that they read Florida’s “Guide to a Healthy Marriage” before being able to access a marriage license. Representative Clay Yarbrough goal is to lower divorce rate in Florida. If passed into law “The Marriage Education Committee” will be created within the Department of Children and Families. The committee shall consist of six marriage education and family advocates, two of whom shall be appointed by the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, two of whom shall be appointed by the president of the Senate, and two of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of House of Representatives. The appointees shall serve a 1-year term each or until such time as the Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage has been created, whichever is earlier. The committee shall be appointed by the 1stof September of 2020. The marriage education committee will form every ten years and should start taking effect on the 1stof July 2020.
The Marriage Education Committee shall oversee the design and layout of the guide. The guide shall include but is not limited to: Resources regarding conflict management, communication skills, family expectations, financial responsibilities and management, domestic violence resources and parenting responsibilities. Current information from marriage education and family advocates to assist in forming and maintaining a long-term martial relationship. The guide will also provide information regarding premarital education, marriage enrichment education, and contact information to local professionals and community services who may further assist a martial relationship.
Florida lawmakers will again consider whether or not the state should authorize a “A Guide to a Healthy Marriage”. Rep. Clay Yarbrough believes that with this bill, divorce rate will go down in Florida, the stated “In 2018, half of Florida’s 156,168 marriages were dissolved through divorce or annulment (77,054),” Yarborough added. “According to a national study performed by the New York-based Institute for American Values, Florida taxpayers spend $1.9 billion annually due to family fragmentation as a result of divorce and unwed child-bearing. The cost to Florida’s child welfare system alone is estimated at $181 million. Also, in 2018 alone, in 46% of the dissolutions, at least one minor child was affected.”
Yarbrough also added “Promoting healthy marriages and families in Florida should be a priority for all of us. When the bill was filed previously, groups came forward who supported the idea of additional information to go alongside the Florida Family Law Handbook,”
Some of you may ask if the bill were to take effect, will we have to access the guide in order to get a marriage license? The answer is yes. With this bill, it will be a mandatory guide for anyone who seeking to say the words “I Do”. Rep. Yarbrough also stated “A number of bills do not make it through the process the year they are first filed. This is an important priority and I will be pushing hard to get it through the process,”.
One may wonder if you have come to an age that we actually need a guide to keep a long-lasting happy marriage. We will have to wait and see if this bill passes through the House of Representatives. Till then let’s hope that Rep. Clay Yarbrough had found the magic that we all need to keep a marriage alive.