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Florida Couples May Need To Attend A Parenting Course Prior To Divorce


In Florida, most couples with minor children who decide to get divorced must complete a parenting class before that divorce can be finalized. Intended to help educate and assist parents in minimizing the emotional impact that divorce can have on children, this course, which is known as the Parent Education and Family Stabilization class, can help families transition during a difficult time. If you are going through a divorce and have questions about the parenting class requirement or another aspect of divorce, consider reaching out to an experienced Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney for help.

Taking a Parent Education and Family Stabilization Class

The Parent Education and Family Stabilization class is four hours long and typically can be completed either online or in person. Both parents will need to take the course independently before their divorce can be finalized. These classes focus on a variety of issues, but concentrate on:

  • How divorce can affect different age groups and how parents can deal with those reactions, which may include acting out or adopting negative behaviors;
  • The use of proper communication techniques, which can help children cope with the changes that accompany divorce;
  • What parents can expect to experience emotionally, physically, and socially during divorce;
  • The responsibilities that parents may need to share as co-parents;
  • How to make time sharing arrangements work for a child’s benefit;
  • Legal explanations about child support and visitation;
  • The signs of domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect; and
  • The availability of community services and resources.

There are a lot of parenting courses out there that cover these kinds of issues. However, only classes that have been approved by the Florida Department of Children and Families will satisfy the court ordered requirement.

When Must I Complete the Course?

A couple’s divorce will only be finalized after they take a Parent Education and Family Stabilization class. Generally, parents who are divorcing tend to receive the most benefit from the program if they attend in the early stages of their dispute and before any extensive litigation or adversarial positions are assumed. In fact, divorcing parents who participate in this class are actually required to start the course within 45 days of filing, or within 45 days of receipt of the divorce petition. If, on the other hand, the parents in question are involved in a paternity action, then they will need to start and complete the course, either within 45 days of filing (for the petitioner) or within 45 days after an adjudication of paternity (for the respondent). Once the course has been completed, both parties will need to file proof of compliance with the court. A parent who fails to attend the parenting course faces serious penalties, including being held in contempt or even being denied time-sharing or shared parental responsibility.

Call Today for Legal Help

It’s important to note that the parent education course isn’t designed to provide parents with individual mental health therapy or legal advice. This is why it’s so critical for divorcing couples to reach out to an attorney for help throughout the process. To learn more, reach out to dedicated Florida child custody attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.

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