Do I have to Take a Parenting Class?

While usually not required, parenting classes provide beneficial information to families in divorce turmoil.

The Florida legislature recognizes the fact that a large number of Florida children experience the divorce of their parents each year. Further, a divorce can cause short and long-term harms to a child during the difficult transition period of a divorce.

To ease these difficulties, the Florida legislature found that a parenting class is a beneficial way to provide families with an educational program that provides valuable information concerning topics like:

  • Issues and Legal Procedures for Time-Sharing and Child Support Concerns
  • The Emotional Concerns and Needs of the Divorcing Parents and Their Children
  • The Availability of Local Community Resources and Services

To achieve these goals and provide divorcing parents with the information they need, the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course was created.

What Is the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course?

Based on the legislature’s findings that a parenting class is valuable during divorce, Section 61.21 of the Florida Statutes was created. This law requires all divorcing parents with minor children to complete a 4 hour Parent and Education and Family Stabilization Course. Additionally, divorcing parties with a paternity action involving issues of parental responsibility will be required to complete the course as well.

If divorcing parents have children who have reached the age of majority, the course may not be legally required. That said, the course still provides valuable information and resources that most parents will want to have. In either case, once the course is completed, only then will the divorcing couple be able to obtain a final divorce decree.

All courses are a minimum of 4 hours and are designed to comply with Section 61.21 by educating, training and assisting divorcing parents with regards to the impact a divorce will have on the parents and children alike.

Parenting Classes Offered in Florida

The Florida Department of Children and Families offers a helpful resource for finding local Parent Education and Family Stabilization courses in a parent’s local Florida area.

If local courses are not an option due to work constraints or similar hindrances, the Parent Education and Family Stabilization course is also offered online or through an approved course provider.  It is worth noting that if you live in Florida, you must attend the parenting class in person.  If you live outside of the state of Florida, you make take the parenting class online.

Based on Florida law, program providers are required to charge a “reasonable fee” for the course. Ordinarily, providers have settled on an amount that ranges somewhere between $18 and $39 per person.

If you have questions regarding parenting classes, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]