Georgia house passes premarital counseling bill 3/15/04



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HB 1451 - Premarital counseling; financial incentive; marriage licenses
Sponsors: (1) Bordeaux,Tom 125th (2) Stephens,Ron 123rd (3) Stokes,Jim 72nd
(4) Fleming,Barry 79th
03/15/04 - House Passed/Adopted

The bill's further progress can be tracked at http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2003_04/sum/hb1451.htm

[What follows are the original bill and a committee substitute. It is unclear from the web site whether the substitution was successful. The differences seem to be that the license fee for non-counseled couples is $150 in the original, $50 in the substitute, and the original let counseling be performed not only by clergy, but also by "(4) A member of a religious ministry responsible to its established ecclesiastical authority who possesses a master´s degree or its equivalent in theological studies; or
(5) A person engaged in the practice of a specialty in accordance with Biblical doctrine in a public or nonprofit agency or entity or in private practice." Both versions fail to include marriage education, offering therapists or physicians as the only alternative to clergy.]

04 LC 29 1332S

The House Committee on Judiciary offers the following substitute to HB 1451:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

To amend Code Section 15-9-60 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to probate court costs, and Chapter 3 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to marriage generally, so as to provide for premarital counseling; to provide for financial incentive to invest in premarital counseling; to change provisions relating to the contents of the application for a marriage license; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1.
Code Section 15-9-60 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to probate court costs, is amended by striking paragraph (14) of subsection (k) and inserting new paragraphs (14) and (14.1) to read as follows:
"(14) Application for marriage license if the applicants have completed premarital counseling pursuant to Code Section 19-3-30.1


10.00

(14.1) Application for a marriage license if the applicants have not completed marriage counseling pursuant to Code Section 19-3-30.1


50.00"

SECTION 2.
Chapter 3 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to marriage generally, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"19-3-30.1.
In applying for a marriage license, a man and woman who certify on the application for a marriage license that they have successfully completed a qualifying marriage preparation program shall be charged the fee set forth in paragraph (14) of subsection (k) of Code Section 15-9-60. In order to qualify for this fee schedule, the couple shall have completed instruction involving marital issues, which may include but not be limited to conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child and parenting responsibilities, and extended family roles. The counseling shall be completed within 12 months prior to the application for a marriage license. The couple may undergo the counseling together or separately. If the counseling is completed together it shall include at least four hours of instruction and, if done separately, each person shall have completed at least two hours of instruction. The premarital counseling shall be performed by:
(1) A professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 10A of Title 43;
(2) A physician who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 34 of Title 43;
(3) A psychologist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 39 of Title 43; or
(4) An active member of the clergy when in the course of his or her service as clergy."
SECTION 3.
Said title is further amended by striking subsection (a) of Code Section 19-3-33, relating to the application for the marriage license and its contents, and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"(a) A marriage license shall be issued on written application therefor, made by the persons seeking the license, verified by oath of the applicants. The application shall state that there is no legal impediment to the marriage and shall give the full present name of the proposed husband and the full present name of the proposed wife with their dates of birth, their present addresses, and the names of the father and mother of each, if known. If the names of the father or mother of either are unknown, the application shall so state. The application shall state that the persons seeking the license have or have not completed premarital counseling pursuant to Code Section 19-3-30.1."


04 LC 29 1195
House Bill 1451
By: Representatives Bordeaux of the 125th, Stephens of the 123rd, Stokes of the 72nd, and Fleming of the 79th
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

To amend Code Section 15-9-60 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to probate court costs, and Chapter 3 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to marriage generally, so as to provide for premarital counseling; to provide for financial incentive to invest in premarital counseling; to change provisions relating to the contents of the application for a marriage license; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1.
Code Section 15-9-60 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to probate court costs, is amended by striking paragraph (14) of subsection (k) and inserting new paragraphs (14) and (14.1) to read as follows:
"(14) Application for marriage license if the applicants have completed premarital counseling pursuant to Code Section 19-3-30.1


10.00

(14.1) Application for a marriage license if the applicants have not completed marriage counseling pursuant to Code Section 19-3-30.1


150.00"

SECTION 2.
Chapter 3 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to marriage generally, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
"19-3-30.1.
In applying for a marriage license, a man and woman who certify on the application for a marriage license that they have successfully completed a qualifying marriage preparation program shall be charged the fee set forth in paragraph (14) of subsection (k) of Code Section 15-9-60. In order to qualify for this fee schedule, the couple shall have completed instruction involving marital issues, including but not limited to conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child and parenting responsibilities, and extended family roles. The counseling shall be completed within nine months prior to the application for a marriage license. The couple may undergo the counseling together or separately. If the counseling is completed together it shall include at least four hours of instruction and, if done separately, each person shall have completed at least two hours of instruction. The premarital counseling shall be performed by:
(1) A professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 10A of Title 43;
(2) A physician who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 34 of Title 43;
(3) A psychologist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 39 of Title 43;
(4) A member of a religious ministry responsible to its established ecclesiastical authority who possesses a master´s degree or its equivalent in theological studies; or
(5) A person engaged in the practice of a specialty in accordance with Biblical doctrine in a public or nonprofit agency or entity or in private practice."
SECTION 3.
Said title is further amended by striking subsection (a) of Code Section 19-3-33, relating to the application for the marriage license and its contents, and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"(a) A marriage license shall be issued on written application therefor, made by the persons seeking the license, verified by oath of the applicants. The application shall state that there is no legal impediment to the marriage and shall give the full present name of the proposed husband and the full present name of the proposed wife with their dates of birth, their present addresses, and the names of the father and mother of each, if known. If the names of the father or mother of either are unknown, the application shall so state. The application shall state that the persons seeking the license have or have not completed premarital counseling pursuant to Code Section 19-3-30.1."




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