What is Court-Mandated Divorce Education?

divorce education

What is Court-Mandated Divorce Education?

Divorce is one of life’s most stressful events. However, when you have young children, that stress tends to multiply. You worry about your children’s health and well-being. The news that you’re legally required to attend divorce education classes may come as a surprise. We’ll help to clarify what divorce education is and how it can help you.


What is Divorce Education?

Hamilton County and other counties in the Greater Cincinnati area require classes for divorcing and separating parents with children under 18. Although it does add another item to your to-do list, these classes don’t always have to be inconvenient. They actually serve an important purpose.

These are online or in-person classes, which you will attend along with other parents in your situation. You may be able to complete it in one session, or you may attend multiple sessions. Length varies by county, but it typically lasts a few hours. Most places charge a minimal fee.


What Will You Learn?

Divorce education classes focus on how to move you children through a period of major change in their lives. It will help you explain your divorce to your children. The instructor will help you figure out how to tell your children about the divorce if you haven’t already. They can also advise you on age appropriate answer to questions that children tend to ask. You and your ex will learn to co-parent. That means you will develop skills to communicate and agree upon parenting schedules and rules. You will discover best practices for working through inevitable disagreements while shielding the children from any additional stress.


Why is Divorce Education Mandatory?

The trend toward requiring education has become popular nationwide in recent years. More than 1,000 such programs operate across the country.

According to this article, the popularity of this type of class skyrocketed in the 1990s. During that time a, “law-oriented, judge-focused adversary model in family law was replaced with more collaborative, interdisciplinary and future-focused dispute resolution processes.”

There are a few main reasons the programs are so popular. First of all, these classes can help divorcing parties resolve their disputes with as little involvement from the courts as possible.

Couples rely increasingly on courts to make decisions about things like custody arrangements, child support requirements, and even emergency protective orders and restraining orders. These needs bog down systems that are already strained.

Second and more important, the legal system today approaches divorce as a public health issue for children. The classes aim to minimize the ill effects of divorce on kids.


How Do You Find and Choose a Class?

Requirements for classes vary by state and by county. In Ohio, all but a few counties require the classes. In Kentucky and Indiana, by contrast, the judge decides whether to mandate classes. Browse a full list of state requirements on this website.)

Just are regulations vary throughout the U.S., the education programs themselves vary in their goals, strategies, certifications, and topics.

You can get information about your available options from the court system that mandates the classes. Many counties now offer online options for parents’ added convenience. In Hamilton County, for example, you can choose from among two online courses or the more affordable in-person training.


What if One Parent Refuses to Go?

What if your co-parent refuses to attend mandatory classes or drags their feet to sign up? You may worry that their failure to comply may impede your divorce proceedings. The consequences are often left to the discretion of a judge. The attorneys on this forum explain and example of this situation.

The judge could find the other party in contempt of court. That means they could face the threat of a fine, incarceration, or another punishment until they comply. The judge could also choose to let the process move forward and limit the privileges of that parent until classes are completed.

However, in some cases, their failures may indeed slow your divorce process. This is just one of many reasons that you need a trusted attorney to advocate for you during this process.

If you’re looking for an attorney, we hope you consider us here at Brandabur and Bowling. We have years of experience representing our clients through complicated family situations.

Please contact us with other questions about court-mandated divorce education or how we can represent you.


IMAGE: Tumisu / CC0 Public Domain

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