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What Are Parenting Classes and Do I Need Them?

 Posted on May 21, 2024 in Child Custody

Houston, TX divorce lawyerYou and your spouse have decided to get divorced. Both of you are now preparing for the divorce process and getting your affairs in order. You have signed the papers, prepared your financial disclosures, and decided who will take custody of the family pet. 

But there is something your divorce lawyer failed to prepare you for: parenting classes. Some courts require parents of minor children to attend parenting classes before the judge makes a final verdict on child custody, or what Texas law calls “possession.”

Being ordered to attend parenting classes can be an unpleasant surprise, and may even feel embarrassing, as if your parenting decisions are being unfairly judged. Hiring the right Illinois divorce attorney, however, can help you avoid any surprises and make the overall divorce process smoother.

What Are Parenting Classes?

Judges sometimes order parents who are getting divorced to complete what Texas law calls a Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. This is a course taught by court-approved licensed professionals and is designed to prepare you for parenting after divorce. The course is usually broken into several parts and can last a total of between four to 12 hours.

Here are examples of topics that are covered in these parenting classes:

  • How divorce affects children

  • Legal requirements for divorced parents

  • How to communicate with your child about issues like divorce

  • How to communicate with your co-parent

  • How your child may react to the divorce in the coming months and years

Do I Need to Attend Parenting Classes?

Not all parents are required to attend parenting classes. Texas law gives courts full discretion regarding who they determine needs to attend. A judge can order parents to complete parenting classes whenever he or she thinks it is in the best interests of the child. For example, a judge might order you and your co-parent to complete a parenting course if the judge feels that:

  • You and your spouse have communication issues that will affect the child.

  • Your home is lacking stability.

  • You do not seem ready for post-divorce life.

  • Your child does not seem to be adjusting well to the divorce.

What Happens if I Do Not Complete the Course?

If a court orders you to complete a parenting course and you do not do so, you can face certain penalties:

  • The court can find you in contempt.

  • The court may restrict your rights as a parent, such as possession and access, which is also known as visitation in other states.

Contact a Harris County, TX Divorce Lawyer

A judge can order you to attend parenting classes at his or her discretion. But the right Houston, Texas divorce attorney will be able to coach you on what to expect and how to avoid these classes, if possible. At The Cusic Law Firm, P.C., we are familiar with parenting classes and why judges choose to require them for some parents. Let us handle your divorce and guide you towards a smooth transition to post-divorce life, with no surprises. Call 713-650-1866 for a free consultation today. 

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