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Georgia's Marriage Education

Tonight's post about the State's Marriage Education was written by our Marietta and Atlanta divorce attorney, Megan McClinton.

This morning, I was reading about the unfortunate uncoupling of Gavin Rossdale (the rockstar I wanted to marry when I was a teenager) and Gwen Stefani (the rockstar I wanted to be when I was a teenager). Celebrity marriages seem to come and go and start and end so suddenly it's hard to keep up with it. It's sad that their thirteen year marriage has come to an end. Actually, I'm still a little bit traumatized by the news. But relationships are hard, whether you're celebrity or civilian.

I'm getting married just a couple of weeks from now. We've been planning our wedding for a little over a year and it's been difficult. More difficult than I thought it would be. When I used to think about marrying my guy, I'd picture nothing but big smiles and trying on fancy dresses and picking out pretty, sparkly things for my big day. And don't get me wrong - it has been awesome. However, it's also stressful and confusing and not always fun.

Planning the wedding is hard, and the marriage will be even harder I know.

At least Georgia is (sort of) looking out for me. While getting all my ducks in a row for my marriage, I learned that a couple can waive the $56 marriage license fee if they can show that they've done 6 hours of "premarital education". This falls under Georgia House Bill 378, which defines the course as "instruction involving marital issues, which may include but not be limited to conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child and parenting responsibilities, and extended family roles".

The intent of House Bill 378 is pretty obvious: to facilitate andencourage healthy relationships. To teach a couple how to be a more successful couple. Although it's hard for me to believe that everything I need to prepare me for marriage can be learned in six short hours.

But sometimes the end is the end, no matter how much marriage counseling or conflict resolution classes you take. Divorce happens. There are laws in place to help you get married, laws in place (like HB 378) to help you stay married, and Georgia laws in place for if and when you reach the end of your marriage. And while I'm just starting into marriage, it is an honor as a family law attorney to be a guide to others finding their way out.

Megan McClinton


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