Are Parenting Courses Required in Florida Divorces?
Florida is one of many states that requires parents going through a divorce to attend a parenting course before their divorce is finalized. The course is four hours long and is intended to help parents make the best choices for their children once the divorce is finalized. When former spouses can effectively co-parent even after the marriage ends, it is better for the children and can lessen the negative impact a divorce can have on them. Below are some details about the required parenting courses that any parent going through a divorce or contemplating a divorce should know.
Governance of Parenting Courses in Florida
The parenting course spouses are required to take is known as the “Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course.” It is governed by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF maintains a listing of the approved providers that have the authority to confirm the attendance of parents required to take the course.
Any agency or company that provides the course is prohibited from soliciting divorcing parents from taking their specific course. Providers are also prohibited from offering medical, legal, or psychological advice. The cost of the course varies, but is often as low as $25.
Individuals that file for divorce have 45 days from the date of filing their petition to take the course. Spouses that are served with divorce papers have 45 days from the day they were served to take the course.
Issues Covered in the Course
Parents will learn a number of strategies for co-parenting during and after a divorce. The topics included in Florida’s parenting course include:
- How to handle legal issues after divorce
- The psychological and emotional impact of divorce on all members of the family
- Establishing goals and challenges within the family
- Financial issues associated with parenting
- Creating a work-life balance with the responsibilities of raising a child
Parents are encouraged to engage in the course, but it is important to realize that in most cases, anything said in the course cannot be used against someone in the divorce case.
Failing to Attend
There are certain situations in which a person may be excused from taking the parenting course. However, these individuals should speak to an attorney right away. An attorney can help individuals establish the good cause that is necessary to be excused from the course.
Individuals that do not take the course, and have not been granted permission from the court to do so, may face serious consequences. A person may be charged with contempt of court, face financial penalties, and a judge may also restrict parenting access.
Getting a Divorce? Call Our Florida Family Lawyers
There are many different requirements people must meet when they are going through a divorce. At O’Mara Law Group, our Orlando family lawyers will inform you of what those are, and ensure your rights are always protected. If you are considering divorce, or the process has already started, call us at (407) 634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.