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What is the Twogether in Texas program?

About half of all American marriages end in divorce. The same is true here in Texas, where the divorce rate is 48 percent.

State lawmakers are trying to bring down that number. They hope that a three-day "waiting period" will help that. That's why our state mandates that couples cannot actually tie the knot for 72 after they apply for a marriage license. Texas is one of the few states that has such a waiting period.

According to the Travis County Clerk, the waiting period can be waived if:

-- One of the applicants is employed by the Department of Defense

-- One of the applicants is in the military

-- A judge grants a waiver

-- The couple completes a "premarital education course"

This premarital counseling is offered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission via a program called Twogether in Texas. Couples who participate in eight hours of counseling (whether in one session or over multiple days or weeks) receive $60 off their marriage license fees.

The classes, which are led by mental health professionals, clergy and "marriage educators" throughout the state. The program, according to the Twogether in Texas website, is "dedicated to increasing the well-being of children by providing voluntary marriage and relationship education skills to their parents." It teaches things like conflict resolution, communication and relationship improvement.

Most couples can likely benefit from some professional guidance before they marry. However, there appears to be no clear evidence that a three-day waiting period or eight hours of premarital counseling has any impact on a couple's chances of staying together over the long run.

Source: KRGV 5 ABC, "Texas Tries to Prevent Divorces," Oct. 01, 2015

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