During the 2007 Texas state legislative session, the state marriage license fee increased.

As part of House Bill 2685, the fee was increase from $30 to $60. However, it also allows couples to waive the $60 state fee and the 72-hour waiting period if they complete an eight-hour premarital education course.

The program is called Twogether in Texas and is part of a healthy marriage initiative by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

A letter from Cindy Stumph, the Region 3W Twogether in Texas project manager for Somervell County, said the “course must be skill-base and research-based and must contain elements of communication skills, conflict management and the key components to a successful marriage.”

There is no fee for the course and couples may take the course from any counselor who is recognized by the state as a participant in the program.

After completing the course, couples receive a certificate that is valid for one year.

The new law went into effect Sept. 1.

Somervell County Clerk Candy Garrett said about 80 to 90 marriages are licensed in the county each year. She said couples who complete the course and have a valid certificate will only pay $7 in local fees for a marriage license.

Couples who are interested in the class can find out more at www.theparentingcenter.org.

The Web site lists class schedules and providers by region.