(Preliminary Report of State Policies to Promote Marriage, 2002
Full Report: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/marriage02/marr-rpt.htm )

Exhibit 2:
States That Have Proposed or Enacted Policies to Promote Marriage

Activity

Definition

States with Activities
(Law or Bill)

COMMISSIONS AND CAMPAIGNS

State Campaigns

Media campaigns to promote marriage and curb divorce rates.

AZ, AR, NM, OK

Commissions

Summits that focus on strengthening marriage; commissions charged with implementing specific policies.

AZ, LA, MI, SC, UT

Proclamations

Statements recognizing the importance of marriage as a public good and foundation of healthy families.

LA, NC, UT

DIVORCE LAWS/PROCEDURES

Modifications to No-fault Laws

Laws that make divorce more difficult by requiring mutual consent.

AZ, CA, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, NH, NJ, TX, VA, WA, WV

Covenant Marriage

Typically requires pre-marital counseling, an agreement to seek additional counseling if marital problems arise, and 2-year waiting period for divorce.

AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, GA, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, OH, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV, WI

Mandatory Education

Education for couples with children on the effects of divorce on children.

AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, HI, IL, IA, KS, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WI

Presumption of Joint Legal Custody

States that have a presumption or strong preference in favor of joint legal custody.

47 States(56)

Waiting Periods before Divorce

Minimum periods between date of filing for divorce and date court grants divorce.

AL, AZ, AR, CA, GA, IL, IN, IA, LA, MA, MO, NE, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WY

Different Laws for Couples with Children

Laws that treat couples with children differently, such as mandatory education, no-fault modifications or increased waiting periods.

AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, IA, KS, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI

Mediation Initiatives

Mediation, offered through the courts, generally addresses custody and visitation issues.

CA, DC, IA, KS, MO, NM, UT, WI

MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIP PREPARATION AND EDUCATION

Incentives for Marriage Preparation

Activities, such as license fee reductions, for those who participate in education or counseling.

AZ, AK, FL, IL, IA, MD, MI, MN, NM, OK, SD, TN

State Funding for Marriage Support

Use of TANF or other funds to encourage couples to participate in marriage preparation activities.

AZ, MI, OK, TX, UT, WI

Marriage Education for Adults

Suggested or required education, often within the context of license fee reductions, marriage waiting period reductions.

AK, AZ, CA, CT, FL, IL, IN, IA, KS, MD, MN, MS, NM, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI

Remarriage Waiting Periods

Minimum time must elapse between the date a divorce is granted and filing for remarriage.

AL, OK, TX, WI

STATE TAXES

State EITC

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit reduces federal taxes and provides a wage supplement for low-income working families. States have enacted EITCs to reduce the burden of state taxes on working families.

CO, DC, IL, IA, KS, ME, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NY, OK, OR, RI, VT, WI

Tax Threshold for Families

For the 43 states with an income tax, the income threshold at which married-couple families begin paying taxes is higher than the threshold at which single-parent families begin paying.

39 states(57)

State Marriage Penalty

States either do not have a flat tax (regardless of income of filing status); tax brackets for married couples are not double the size of brackets for individual filers; married couples cannot pay taxes on separate incomes as if single.

GA, KS, ME, MD, MN, NE, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, Oh, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WV, WI


 

TRANSFER POLICIES

Medicaid Eligibility Based Solely on Financial Circumstances

States cover two-parent families to the same extent as single-parent families by eliminating the recent work history and “100-hour” rules.

36 States(58)

Medicaid Eligibility, Expanded Disregards

States have increased income and asset disregards and increased coverage through Section 1115 waivers.

AZ, CA, DE, DC, HI, ME, MN, MO, MT, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TN, VT, WA, WI, WY.

Medicaid Eligibility, Pregnant Women

Raise the income eligibility for pregnant women above 185 percent of poverty.

AK, CA, DE, DC, GA, IL, IA, ME, MD, MA, MN, RI, VT

Expanded Health Care Coverage, Two-parent Families.

States cover parents through state-funded programs or CHIP.

AZ, CA, MN, NJ, RI, WI

TANF Eligibility, Two-parent Families

Elimination of the work history and 100-hour rules.

AL, AK, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL. HI, ID, IL, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MT, NE, NV, NJ, MN, NY, NC, OH, RI, SC, TX, UT, VT, VA, WV, WI, WY

Marriage Incentives, TANF

States can disregard income of a new spouse for specified time, provide an incentive payment to monthly benefit, offer child care/health benefits to low-income mothers who marry.

AL, ME, MN, MS, NJ, ND, OK, TN, WA, WV

Marriage Promotion, TANF

State workers actively promote marriage to TANF participants.

OK

Child Support Arrearage Forgiveness

Child support arrearages owed to the state by non-custodial parents are forgiven if parents reunite.

TN, VT

STATE-LEVEL VITAL STATISTICS

Marriage Data

 

31 States

Divorce Data

 

29 States

Improvement Efforts

 

AL, GA, HI, IA, NJ, OK, VT

MARRIAGE SUPPORT AND PROMOTION

Home Visitation Programs

A nurse or other professional is sent into the home of targeted families to offer numerous services including marriage or relationships education or skills

HI, NC, OK, UT,

Mentoring, Education, and Counseling

Programs that aim to strengthen families, including communications skills, anger management, mentoring of at-risk families.

AL, AZ, MI, OK, OR, UT

Fatherhood Programs

States are seeking to reunify families by incorporating a marriage component into statewide fatherhood initiatives.

FL, MS, PA, TX, VA

YOUTH EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

School-based Marriage Education

Statewide marriage education in schools.

AZ, FL, NH, NM, PA, SC, SD, UT, WI

Abstinence-until-marriage Education

States include the message as part of sex education programs, Title V Section 510 programs enacted as part of the 1996 welfare reform law, and as media campaigns.

AL, AZ, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NC, OK, OR, SC, TN, VA

SPECIALTY PROGRAMS

Professional Development

State regulates marriage and family therapists

44 States(59)

Respite Programs for Parents of Children with Disabilities

Statewide programs that offer family support services such as day care and counseling.

43 States(60)

Programs for Incarcerated Parents

Statewide programs target both men and women leaving prison for parenting and family reunification services.

AR, CT, DC, FL, ID, PA