Frequently Asked Questions About Mandated Parent Education Seminars
Why is a parenting seminar required when parents separate or divorce?
The period of separation or divorce is a difficult time for both children and parents. When parents are more aware of the effects of separation and divorce on their children and more aware of their parenting responsibilities, they will be more child-focused in the development of their parenting plans. This in turn leads to a greater willingness to explore mediation, rather than litigation, as a means of determining custody, visitation and support. Mediation, with its emphasis on communication and a goal of finding common ground, lends itself to a more effective co-parenting environment post-divorce, as opposed to the often experienced bitterness following litigation.
I don’t have any communication with my child’s other parent. Do I still have to take a seminar?
The focus of the seminar is on how you can help your children and how you can more effectively parent from two separate homes. The seminar may assist you and your co-parent in identifying a variety of methods of communication, while keeping your children out of the middle.
I was not married to my child’s other parent. Do I still have to take a seminar?
If child custody, support or visitation is contested, then both parents must attend the seminar, whether they were ever married or not. The seminar is not divorce education; it is parent education which is beneficial whether parents were never married, are divorced, or still are married.
There have never been any complaints about my parenting. Why do I need to take this seminar?
The requirement that you take this seminar is not a judgment of your parenting skills. The seminar focuses on how parents can mitigate the negative effects of separation and divorce on their children, how they can parent from two separate homes and how to better resolve co-parenting conflicts.
Do I have to attend this seminar with my co-parent?
No. You may attend the same seminar if you are comfortable doing so, but you may also attend separately.
What if my co-parent does not attend the seminar?
That is up to the judge. In some courts, the judge may hold the party in contempt of court or impose other sanctions for failure to attend the seminar.