Pre-Marriage Preparations in Georgia

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Divorce is a national problem that causes heartache for the couple involved and can cost the state up to $30,000 per case. Now, the state of Georgia has found a way to help couples and hopefully lower the divorce rate.

Love and marriage are two words that inevitably go together, but when love isn't enough, most couples get divorced.

It’s a national problem, and a problem that costs an estimated $1 billion for the state of Georgia. The pre-marital preparation bill will offer couples who receive at least six hours of pre-marital counseling a $35 discount on their marriage licenses.

Willie Dearing, pastor at Covenant of Grace Church, says, "So many couples need pre-marital counseling. They need a foundation laid in the relationship to know what they are getting into before they get into it."

The Georgia Family Council reports that 10 to 15 percent of engaged couples who seek pre-marital counseling six months prior to the wedding end up breaking their engagement.

One local marriage and family therapist believes counseling is an absolute necessity.

Yoheved Artzi, a licensed family and marriage therapist, says, "I see it working with couples, you know? They come here and they start to talk about things: ‘oh, we didn't think about it before.’ ‘Oh, I never heard her saying it before.’ “

Willie Dearing adds, "In light of the fact that it's so needed, I think it's a great encouragement and incentive for those who need that kind of counseling to get it before they do."

The bill authorizes any licensed therapist or any member of the clergy to provide counseling. A similar law exists in the state of Florida. Couples who participate in at least four hours of pre-marital counseling receive a 37 percent discount on their marriage license.