Are Parenting Classes Required in a Florida Divorce?
Couples who share children and who decide to end their marriages are required to contend with a host of related issues, including creating a parenting time plan and coming up with a child support arrangement. Additionally, parents are required to engage in a parenting course before a judge will actually finalize a divorce. While many parents feel as though their ability to care for a child is being questioned by this requirement, these parenting courses actually have a number of important purposes and procedures. To learn more about how to satisfy the parenting course requirement and obtain a divorce in Florida, please reach out to our experienced Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyers today.
Mandatory Parenting Courses
When Florida lawmakers instituted the rule regarding mandatory parenting courses for divorcing parents, they were primarily focused on helping children cope with the long and short-term hurdles that go along with divorce, including economic, emotional, and educational changes. In an effort to minimize the detrimental effects of divorce on children, lawmakers implemented Parent Education and Family Stabilization Courses that provide parents with information about:
- The consequences of divorce on parents and children;
- The issues and legal procedures for resolving child support and custody disputes;
- The emotional aspects and experiences of divorcing adults;
- The emotional concerns of children involved in divorce;
- The financial responsibilities to children upon divorce;
- The availability of community resources and services; and
- Information regarding spousal and child abuse and neglect.
There are a number of different parenting courses, in a variety of locations that satisfy these requirements, so before a couple attends one they should make sure that their specific course has been approved by the courts. Furthermore, any course that they take must be at least four hours long.
Fulfilling the Parenting Course Requirement
Attending these parenting courses is usually mandatory, although courts do have discretion to excuse someone from attending a course or from completing the course within the required time, but only for good cause. Otherwise, couples must provide the court with proof of completion within 45 days of filing or receiving the divorce petition before a judge will officially finalize a divorce.
It’s also important to note that failing to complete the parenting course can have serious consequences for the parties involved. For instance, in addition to delaying the finalization of their divorce, failing to attend a parenting course during divorce can result in a parent being held in contempt of court or facing other court sanctions. In some cases, the non-compliant parent could even be denied shared parental responsibility or equal time-sharing.
An Experienced Fort Lauderdale Child Custody Lawyer
If you and your spouse share a child and you have decided to end your marriage, you will need to grapple with a number of complicated issues, including child support, child custody, and Florida’s parenting course requirements. Please call experienced and compassionate child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to learn more about how we can help protect your family’s interests throughout this process.