In some parts of the United States, couples with children who want to get a divorce are required by law to attend divorce court ordered parenting classes. Going through a divorce can be traumatic for all parties involved. Even the best parents can use some help to learn how to continue to co-parent their children even though they are no longer a couple.
If you live in a jurisdiction where you are required to take parenting classes as part of the divorce action, the Court will notify you of this fact. You should receive a notice when the divorce papers are filed.
Parenting Classes: Co-Parenting and High Conflict
The parenting class provider you are considering may offer co-parenting and high conflict classes. Each of these options is helpful in different situations.
This option works best in a situation where the parents have a relatively amicable relationship. The course content focuses on how they can both remain involved in their child/children's lives.
High Conflict Classes
High conflict parenting classes teach strategies so that both parents can be involved with their children, while keeping direct contact between them to a minimum. It would be a good choice in situations where there has been a history of domestic violence or the parties are involved in a custody battle.
Court Appointed Providers
The Court may have a list of approved providers for divorce court ordered parenting classes. If you are not given one, be sure to check with the Court Clerk's office to make sure that the class you are considering will be recognized by the Court in the county where the divorce action was started.
You may be asked to submit a certificate to the Court on completion of the course, or the course provider may send in the certificate on your behalf. (Be sure to ask about the course provider's policy; you will need to provide proof to the Court that you have complied with the order to attend the classes.)
Online Divorce Course Ordered Parenting Classes
Online parenting courses are available for those who would either prefer to go through the course materials at a time that is convenient for them or those who are unable to attend on-site parenting classes.
Advantages to Taking an Online Parenting Course
If the Court that has jurisdiction over your divorce action recognizes online parenting classes, there are some distinct advantages to taking one in this format:
- Convenient: You can study at a time and in the location of your choice. Log in to the course materials from anywhere that has an Internet connection.
- Private: Unless you choose to share this information with others, only you, the Court staff working on your file, and the parenting course provider will know that you have signed up for the program.
- Self Paced: Online classes let you learn at your own rate or go back over a section if you need to before moving on to the next one.
How to Get Approval for an Online Course
If taking your divorce court ordered parenting course online makes the most sense to you and the Court has not given you that option on the notice you were given, you may still be able to get approval for this option. Submit the Web site URL, the name of the company and a list of the topics the online course covers to the Court and ask if this particular course will meet the requirements needed for that county. Don't enroll in the course before you get the approval. If you aren't able to get approval for the course, you will still need to sign up and pay for a parenting course that the Court will approve.
Where to Find Online Parenting Courses
Here are a few examples of parenting courses available online: