Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About the Parental Divorce Reduction Act (“PDRA”)
Question: What is the Parental Divorce Reduction Act (“PDRA”)?
Answer: A new research-based proposal to reduce unnecessary divorce, avoid serious lifelong consequences
for children, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
Question: Who is covered by the legislation?
Answer: All married couples with minor children.
Question: Who is exempt?
Answer: All spouses who are victims of domestic violence or have been abandoned for 18 months. Also covered
are spouses married to felons sentenced to prison for fi ve years or longer or convicted of sexual offenses
against a spouse or children, and alcoholics and drug addicts refusing treatment.
Question: Who pays for marriage education services?
Answer: Couples covered by the statute and not otherwise exempt.
Question: What is the cost to taxpayers?
Answer: Nothing. The legislation is budget neutral, will lower divorce rates, and will save taxpayers billions
annually that now fund the societal consequences of unnecessary divorce.
Question: How much do couples pay for marriage education classes?
Answer: A nominal fee of no more than $200. Waivers are provided for indigent clients, and states may use
TANF funds to subsidize fees.
Question: What are the components of a marriage education curriculum?
Answer: A marriage education curriculum consists of 4-8 hours of classroom instruction plus a two hour online
module which teaches participants about the negative effects of divorce on children and adults and teaches the
skills necessary for healthy relationships.
Question: Who determines the certification procedure for marriage education curricula and service providers?
Answer: The state Secretary of Human Services. In order to qualify, the marriage education program must be
based on existing research, be bi-lingual (English and Spanish), and have a two-hour online component to complement
Question: What about couples who live in rural areas with no access to face-to-face classes?
Answer: On-line modules will be available for use in rural counties where in-person classes are not regularly
Question: May faith-based curricula be offered?
Answer: Yes, but only to spouses who so elect. Since the government is not providing services directly, the
marriage education program will work like a voucher program, with couples choosing their own servicer provider,
thus eliminating any church-state issues.
Question: How is the waiting period triggered?
Answer: The eight-month reconciliation and refl ection period begins as soon as both parties complete the marriage
education curriculum and receive a certifi cate of completion.
Question: What happens if one spouse refuses to comply with the statutory requirements?
Answer: Courts have the power to order compliance.
Question: How do couples obtain information about available service providers?
Answer: From the website established by the Secretary, which shall provide information county by county.
Service providers will also publicize classes.
Question: When can a spouse file for divorce?
Answer: Immediately after completion of the marriage education curriculum and expiration of the reconciliation
Question: How does the legislation interact with a state’s current divorce laws?
Answer: Such laws and procedures remain in effect and, upon compliance with the legislation, spouses may
file for divorce in accordance with those laws and procedures. Laws and procedures relating to temporary maintenance, child support and child custody also remain in effect.