Who Needs to Take Parenting Classes in Florida?
It might sound like a cliché, but the purpose of Florida’s family courts is not to punish anyone. The goal has always been to put the best interests of the child first, but in the past, many child custody and support decisions left one or both parents feeling shortchanged and bitter. The parent who had the children for most of the time often felt like he or she received inadequate financial support from the children’s other parent. Meanwhile, the non-custodial parent would be left feeling like he or she was being required to pay huge amounts of money for the children, while the courts did little to encourage a healthy parent-child relationship. The parenting plan system that Florida has been following in recent years has done a lot to address this problem, but it still is not easy to raise children with your ex-spouse. As much as you love your children and want the best for them, it can be hard to want to cooperate with the ex who broke your heart or betrayed your trust. Therefore, Florida requires almost all parents who are not married to each other to take a parenting course in order to help them raise their children even when the parents are not each other’s life partners.
What Parenting Courses Are and What They Are Not
The official name for Florida’s legally required parenting classes is the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. Florida requires these courses for all parents of minor children, except those parents who are peacefully married to each other. When a couple who has minor children together divorces, both parents must complete a parenting course before the divorce can be legally finalized. Likewise, when a man establishes legal paternity of a child, and the child’s mother is not the man’s wife, both parents must complete a parenting course.
Court-ordered parenting courses are not a punishment. They are also not an alternative to some greater burden, the way that courts sometimes order addiction treatment programs instead of incarceration for people convicted of drug possession. The course is much more similar to the one-day course on traffic laws that all Florida drivers must take before taking the test to get a driver’s license. The idea is that co-parenting is a responsibility and a privilege, like driving. Like the driver safety course, the parenting course is only one day long. In fact, Florida law requires the course to be a minimum of four hours. The course typically costs between $18 and $39.
If a court requires you to take a parenting course, do not think of it as a punishment. Your ex-spouse also has to take the same course, as do all divorced parents in Florida. Besides, you and your ex do not have to attend the course together.
Bundza & Rodriguez Can Help with Child Custody and Co-Parenting
All divorced parents need to take parenting courses in Florida, but every family is unique. Contact Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. in Daytona Beach, Florida for help reaching an agreement to raise your children with your ex-spouse.