CHARLES TOWN – Couples who do not undergo four hours of premarital counseling are now paying $56 for a marriage license.
[cleeng_content id="905008483" description="Read it now!" price="0.15"]However, being able to provide proof of counseling will get the couple a $20 discount.
Yes, this is new, according to Patricia Hamilton, executive director of the West Virginia Association of Counties, who said the bill was initiated by the Family Policy Council.
“It has a lot of unknowns,” Hamilton said. “Myself along with the clerks are kind of leaving it alone.”
Hamilton said the bill could have used some revisions.
“It’s been a little bit of a problem getting it implemented,” she said, adding the new fee means new forms and software updates.
According to Hamilton, the bill wasn’t thought through enough because it is now three weeks on the books and the “books” aren’t ready for the new fees.
“Questions had to be added to the marriage license application. One was had the couple had a premarital education,” Hamilton said. “Then we had to decide what to do with the information we received. Should we staple it to the certificate, make a copy – or what?”
Proof of the premarital counseling can come from a minister, social worker, psychologist, psychoanalyst, or family marriage counselor.
Jefferson County Deputy Clerk Katrina Bloomer said there have been 149 marriage licenses purchased so far this year.
“One person did come in last week and asked for the rebate. They did go through the four hours of classes,” Bloomer said.
Revenue from the increase will be used to fund the new marriage education fund, which is administered by the DHHR, as well as the Civil Defense Indigent Defense Fund, for those who need legal aid, and the Family Shelter Protective Board.[/cleeng_content]