WV Law Makers Taking A Stand On Marriage

Thinking about tying that knot, well start thinking about premarital classes if living in West Virginia.

The National Vital Statistics report shows West Virginia has the fifth highest divorce rate in the nation, and now starting June 8th, law makers are taking a stand.

"An additional twenty dollars that they will have to pay if they don't have a certificate showing that they completed a premarital education course," says the Executive Director of West Virginia Association for Counties, Patti Hamilton.

That means instead of 36 dollars, newlyweds will be paying 56 dollars, that's a nearly 60-percent increase.

"The statistics tell us that a family that has gone through premarital counseling last longer," explains Counselor at Counseling and Wellness Center, Harvey West.

Premarital counseling is about preparing a couple for bumps along the future road.

"They don't argue as much, I mean naturally there's always going to be arguments there's always going to be disagreements when any two people are together, but they learn better how to talk out those problems," says West.
But pre-marital counselors say couples who take the education classes and don't want to be there... are often missing out on great benefits. They say often times couples are in denial.
"They try to make it out to be better than what it really is. They think they've got the wonderful relation because they're still in stage one, then like I said that wears off after about six months to two years," continues West."

And if the extra twenty dollars doesn't convince a couple to participate in counseling, the money goes to different state fundings.
"Ten dollars to the credit of the marriage education and five dollars Family Shelter Support Act and five dollars to fund for legal services for low income persons," says Hamilton.

A free seminar will be held by Harvey West Saturday, May 5 at the 36th Street Church of Christ. The event is open to the public from 9 am to 3 pm.
You can register by calling 1-800-841-7876 or 304-422-7300.


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