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Are Parenting Courses Mandatory After a Divorce in Florida?


After filing for divorce in Orlando or other parts of Florida, you may have questions about the requirement to attend parenting courses. Are those parenting courses mandatory following a Florida divorce?

Yes, the state of Florida requires divorcing couples to attend a parenting education course before a court enters a final ruling on their divorce case. Thus, every parent who is going through a divorce must obtain a certificate of completion before their divorce case can be finalized.

If you need help with negotiating or finalizing visitation, child custody, or other aspects of divorce, contact an experienced attorney at The Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee.

Why Are Parenting Courses Required in Florida?

Many divorced parents question the purpose of parenting courses. The purpose of making parenting courses mandatory is to minimize the negative short- and long-term effects a divorce may have on the couple’s children.

A divorce can take a toll on both the parents and their shared children, which is why parents are required to attend parenting education classes. The mandatory parenting classes help divorced parents understand various aspects of their post-divorce parenting, including:

  • What is in the best interest of their children
  • How to avoid child custody and parenting plan disputes
  • How to protect their children’s emotional and psychological wellbeing after a divorce
  • How to minimize the adverse effects of divorce during the transition period

Parenting Course Following a Florida Divorce

Under the Florida Statutes Section 61.21, a parent is required to attend a parenting course that meets specific requirements:

  • The course is a minimum of 4 hours;
  • The course is approved by the Florida Department of Children and Families;
  • The parenting course is designed to “educate, train, and assist divorcing parents” regarding the consequences of divorce on parents and children.

Typically, parents can find the list of approved parenting courses in their circuit court. A parenting course must educate the parent on:

  • The legal issues of resolving child-related issued between former spouses;
  • The emotional aspects of divorce on parents and children;
  • Family dynamics and relationships following the divorce;
  • A parent’s financial responsibility to children; and
  • The legal issues regarding domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.

Attending a Parenting Course After a Divorce in Florida

The state of Florida requires all parents to attend a parenting course and obtain a certificate of completion within 45 days of filing for divorce or being served with divorce papers. A parent can be held in contempt of court for their failure to complete the mandatory parenting course.

Also, failure to attend or complete a parenting course after a divorce can delay your divorce case because the court will not be able to issue a final divorce decree before each parent completes the course.

Under certain circumstances, a parent can be excused from attending a parenting course for a good cause. Your participation in and completion of a parenting course is required to obtain a final judgment. If you have questions about how the parenting course or other aspects of your divorce can affect your custody rights, speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

Contact our Orlando divorce attorney at The Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee to receive a case review. Call at 407-521-7171 to consult with our family law attorney.


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