Tallahassee, FL – State Senator Kelli Stargel filed SB-1586 and Florida State Representative Dennis Baxley has filed companion bill HB-1163, to create a Marriage Education Handbook. The handbook will be distributed statewide through the offices of the clerk of the court to couples applying for a marriage license and will include information on communication skills, conflict resolution, parenting, managing finances and where a married couple can get personal or professional help with their marriage should they need it in the future.
Senator Stargel stated, “So many young couples getting married today come from broken homes and cannot draw upon a living example of how a marriage works. Marriage is one of the greatest safeguards against poverty in our society and this handbook will be an invaluable resource to hundreds of thousands of newly married couples to hekp them develop healthy and strong marriages.”
Representative Baxley commented, “The state has a compelling interest in keeping marriages and families successful and thriving. In Florida alone, the taxpayers cost as a result of family fragmentation from divorce and unwed child bearing is just short of two billion dollars every year. Every marriage that is saved and strengthened is both an economic and a social victory for Florida.”
Several other states have created Marriage Handbooks including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.
An amendment will be offered to ensure the handbook also includes resources and help for victims of domestic violence and to give more specific instructions to the clerk of courts regarding distribution of the handbook. There is no expected economic impact as the design and production of the booklet will be paid for by funds raised from grant requests with private foundations.