SUPPORT: SB 1586 (Stargel); HB 1163 (Baxley)

BACKGROUND: The marriage of one man and one woman is the foundation for the procreation of children, providing a social benefit to society. With the appropriate skills and knowledge, husband and wife can maintain a healthy relationship and provide a stable home for any children born or adopted into the family.

Studies have shown that divorce and unmarried parenthood increase the likelihood of poverty, poor health, and decreased levels of education thus creating costs to society in the form of increased crime rates, child abuse, domestic violence, chronic illness and other negative outcomes for children and adults.

BILL PROVISIONS: This bill would create a Marriage Education Committee, under the administrative purview of the Department of Children and Families, to produce the Florida Marriage Handbook and then update every 10 years. Members would be appointed to 1 year terms or until the review process is complete. The Handbook would include:

Resources dealing with conflict resolution, communication skills, financial management and parenting skills Information from marriage professionals on forming and maintaining long-term marital relationships Premarital education, marriage enrichment education and resources to assist troubled marriages Contact information and website links to professional and community resource

Handbooks would be available at the clerk of the circuit court upon application for a marriage license. Clerks could also make it available via electronic media as well as a list of marriage and relationship building classes and course providers.

RATIONALE: Stability of marriage and family relationships is important for a healthy living environment and productive society. Access to information for couples wanting to strengthen their marriage or find help for faltering relationships will benefit families and communities.

For additional information, please contact –

Sheila S. Hopkins, Director for Social Concerns/Respect Life

shopkins@flacathconf.org (850) 205-6826


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