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Will a Law Help Reduce Florida’s Divorce Rates?


Florida is known for its theme parks, beautiful weather and gorgeous beaches. Unfortunately, it is also known for its divorce rates. Between 2013 and 2017, for every 1,000 married people in the United States, about 11.67 individuals divorced each year. In the United States, the divorce rate per capita is 10.9%.  In Florida, that number is 12.9%—the seventh-highest rate in the nation. In South Pasadena, a city in Pinellas County, the divorce rate is 22.3%—the highest rate among 215 Florida cities with a population exceeding 5,000 people.

This infamous distinction is concerning to lawmakers. One Florida representative is trying to pass a law to protect marriage, for the second time. Rep. Clay Yarborough, from Jacksonville, recently filed the “Guide to a Healthy Marriage” measure. Under HB 319,  the law would provide for a special committee to produce a guide, called  “Guide to a Healthy Marriage,” which couples would be required to read before marriage. Gov. Ron DeSantis, the House Speaker and Senate President would be tasked with creating this marriage education committee, which would be comprised of six members.

The guide would be paid for with private funds, not taxpayer dollars. Couples would be required to have access to it in order to obtain a marriage license. The guide would address various topics in a marriage, such as communication skills, conflict management, financial responsibilities and management, family expectations, parenting responsibilities and domestic violence resources. While the guide would not define marriage, it would include topics that would be of benefit to any married couple.

Nobody from the Senate has sponsored the bill yet. Yarborough has tried in the past to pass this law, with no success. However, he considers it a high priority and plans to push it through the process. He believes that passage of the bill will not only lower divorce rates, but save taxpayers money as well. Yarborough claims that there is a financial advantage involved in having couples stay married.

In 2018, 77,054 marriages in Florida ended in divorce or annulment. Florida taxpayers spend nearly $2 billion every year due to pay for families split up due to unwed mothers and divorce. In 2018, at least one child was affected in 46% of the divorces.

Another Florida city, Gulfport, also has a high divorce rate, at 19.3 percent. Besides Florida, southern states such as Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky also have high divorce rates. 

Seek Legal Help

Since there is now no-fault divorce, ending a marriage is fairly easy to do. It is highly unlikely that forcing a couple to read a guide before getting married will reduce the divorce rate. People often change as they get older, and no amount of reading material will change that.

While all couples should put forth the required effort to save their marriage, there are no guarantees. If you are considering divorce, Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you understand your options. To schedule a consultation, call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form.




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