What to Know About Parenting Courses During Divorce in Florida
In Florida, when a couple is getting a divorce and they have children together, they must attend a parenting course before their case can be finalized. The course is a minimum of four hours long and the purpose is to teach parents how to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children post-divorce. It is crucial that parents learn how to co-parent once their marriage ends to lessen the negative impact the divorce has on the children. If you are getting a divorce and there are children involved, below is everything you need to know about the parenting course you will have to attend.
Who Governs Parenting Courses in Florida?
Parenting courses in Florida are governed by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). The course is called the “Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course”. The DCF keeps a list of the approved providers that teach the course and confirm that a couple has attended. Parents can take the course at a local office, or they can take them online. When a person files for divorce, they have only 45 days from the date of filing to take the course. Spouses that are served with divorce papers have 45 days from the date of being served to take the course.
While parents have specific requirements they must meet, so too, do providers of the course. Companies that provide the course are prohibited from soliciting divorcing individuals from enrolling in their specific course. Anyone teaching the course is also not allowed to offer psychological, legal, or medical advice. Providers can set their own cost for their course, but there are courses available that cost as little as $25.
Topics Covered in Parenting Courses
Parenting courses in Florida are intended to provide parents with strategies that will help them co-parent during and after the divorce. Some of the topics covered in these courses include:
- The emotional impact of the divorce on everyone in the family
- The financial challenges of parenting
- How to handle legal issues post-divorce
- Establishing challenges and goals in the family unit
- How to create a work-life balance when raising a child
It is always the hope that parents will engage in the course, but anything said cannot usually be held against a parent during their divorce case.
Failure to Attend
There are serious penalties individuals may face when they do not attend the required parenting courses. They may face high fines, and may even be found in contempt of court. In some situations, a judge may also limit a parent’s access to their children. Still, there are some situations in which a person may have a valid reason to not attend a parenting course but they must show a very good cause. Individuals that cannot attend the course should always speak to a lawyer that can help them prove their valid cause for not taking the course.
Our Family Lawyers in Florida Can Answer Your Questions
When going through a divorce, there are many requirements you must meet, including attending a parenting course. At Eighmie Law Firm, P.A., our Port St. Lucie divorce lawyers can advise on what those requirements are so your case and your rights are always protected. Call us today at (772) 905-8692 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.