Monday, June 22, 2009

Legislation to Hike Marriage, Divorce Fees

Child abuse and domestic violence programs in Pennsylvania would receive additional funding if legislation upping fees for couples getting married or divorced becomes law. State Senator LeAnna Washington is sponsoring two bills that would increase the dedicated fees on marriage licenses and divorce filing to generate resources for services funded through the Children's Trust Fund. "With approximately 80,000 Pennsylvania victims of domestic violence each year and thousands of children becoming victims of neglect and abuse, this legislation will go far toward ending this endless cycle of abuse."

Marriage license fees would go up by a total of $50 and divorce filings by $40. One bill would boost the surcharge on marriage licenses from the current $10 to $35 and on divorce complaints from $10 to $25. Those surcharges than go to the Children's Trust Fund.

The other measure would increase the state fee for marriage licenses to $38, of which $2.50 would be retained by the county where the license is issued. The other $35.50 would go to the state's General Fund. Of that amount, $35 would go to the Department of Public Welfare to help victim's of domestic violence. Senator Washington says the fees have not been increased since they were enacted 2 decades ago.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the bills and sent them to the full Senate.

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