Parenting Classes Mandated for Couples Divorcing in Florida
In a previous article, we discussed children’s rights in divorce. In the same vein, in 2019, the state of Florida passed Statute 61.21, mandating parents who are separating or divorcing to attend parenting classes. The law has an extensive introduction that explains the public policy behind the Statute. The following excerpt from Section (1)(a) states in part:
Parental conflict related to divorce is a societal concern because children suffer potential short-term and long-term detrimental economic, emotional, and educational effects during this difficult period of family transition. This is particularly true when parents engage in lengthy legal conflict.
The legislature in Section (2) of the Act mandated the Dept. of Children & Families (DCF) to provide the course as follows:
The Department of Children and Families shall approve a parenting course which shall be a course of a minimum of 4 hours designed to educate, train, and assist divorcing parents in regard to the consequences of divorce on parents and children.
The Statute is comprehensive, and a model of enlightened and progressive lawmaking. It empowers DCF to use its rule-making power to accomplish its purpose. Parties are required to complete the course as expeditiously as possible. Modifications are covered as well. The court is empowered to impose sanctions, including contempt, for any party that fails to comply.
A Positive Parenting webinar class is offered by DCF. This webinar is a minimum of 4 hours and is designed to educate, train, and assist divorcing parents in regards to the impact of divorce on parents and children, as required by Chapter 61.21, F.S.
The stated course objectives are:
- Focus on the future rather than the past. We are not here to focus on blame and guilt.
- Recognize barriers that keep you from communicating with the other parent and your children.
- Learn how to talk with your child about divorce.
- Learn how your children choose their behavior, and how to help them and yourselves with encouragement.
- Learn about opportunities and options within the judicial system that give you power over decisions that affect your future and your children’s future.
- Recognize what you want for your children and yourself.
- Learn skills for negotiation and building healthy relationships.
- The art of communication with our children and how important it is to a healthy relationship.
- The stages of Loss and Grief.
- The effects of Domestic Violence on children.
- Stages of Child Development and parenting to name a few.
The Center for Divorce Education also offers an approved online 4-hour parenting course. The Center for Divorce Education claims that documented studies show a 57% reduction in litigation, 70% fewer school absences, 54% fewer physician visits, and 22% reduction in child stress where parents have completed the course, Children in Between.
The American Safety Council offers an approved online parenting course as well. The class is DCF approved. The course is designed to educate, train, and assist divorcing parents as they undergo the process while helping them understand what a divorce means for their family’s future.
If you are contemplating a break-up, be prepared to complete an approved parenting class at your earliest opportunity.
The Brodie Friedman legal team provides clients with exceptional advice and personalized attention, by making your case our immediate priority. If you’re in need of excellent legal representation our team is ready to help.
With over 30 years of combined experience, Jason Brodie Esq. and Joshua Friedman Esq. will guide you toward realistic goals and provide committed advocacy toward achieving them. They are known throughout South Florida for dedicated client service, tenacity, and success in complex divorce litigation involving property division, child custody, and spousal support.
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