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The Benefits of Co-Parenting Courses
Even if your marriage ends, you will still have an ongoing relationship with your ex-spouse if you have children together. Transitioning from cohabitating with your family to living in separate households can take time and effort.
Florida favors both parents remaining involved in their child’s life, and judges prefer to approve parenting plans that reflect the child’s best interests. But carrying out the terms of a parenting plan like this can take cooperation where the relationship between the parents has suffered damage.
Here are some facts to understand about co-parenting courses and their benefits during a divorce or separation.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan addresses issues surrounding child custody and parenting time.
Frequent and continuing contact between children and both parents after a separation or divorce
Encouraging parents to share the rights, responsibilities, and joys of childrearing
As a result, your parenting plan will likely include:
Joint Legal Custody
Both parents will have a say in decisions affecting the child, including schooling, religion, and healthcare. The parents will need to make these decisions together, and if they cannot, they could end up back in court.
Shared Parenting Time
A parenting plan will address the time-sharing schedule arrangements for the child, including the time the child will spend with each parent. It will also include information about the child’s daily tasks, such as sports events, recitals, and other activities that will require coordination between the parents.
Due to schooling and other scheduled activities, a judge may not order equal parenting time. But judges will try to make the division of parenting time as fair as possible for the parents and children.
What Is the Concept of Co-Parenting?
Co-parenting means that the parents share the responsibility of raising a child even though the parents have no legal relationship or are living apart. Co-parenting could apply to unmarried, separated, or divorced parents.
The idea is that regardless of their relationship, parents should set aside any differences they have for the benefit of their children. Unfortunately, in an emotional situation like separation and divorce, some parents have a hard time doing this.
What Are Co-Parenting Courses?
Co-parenting courses help you learn the skills and coping mechanisms for successfully working with your co-parent to advance your child’s interests.
Under Florida law, parents of minor children generally must complete a Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course before the court can enter a final dissolution judgment. In some circumstances, the court may excuse a party from attending the parenting course.
The Florida legislature passed this requirement because it found that parents were more likely to act in the best interests of their children if they understood:
The impact of divorce on the children
The process the courts use to protect the children’s best interests
This course covers the essentials of co-parenting. Topics in this course include:
How the law works when parents decide child-related issues
The emotional aspects of separation and divorce on adults and children
The basics of family relationships and family dynamics
The financial responsibilities parents have to their children
Legal issues around abuse and neglect
Generalized education that applies to family, work, school, neighborhood, and civic relationships
The requirements of children who have special needs or emotional concerns
The law also outlines what the co-parenting course will not do. The course is not:
Therapy for parents or children
Legal advice to parents or children
Solicitation by the course provider to become private clients or patients
The goal of the course is to provide suggestions to parents about how to ease the post-separation or post-divorce adjustments their children will experience.
What Are the Benefits of Co-Parenting Courses?
The most important benefit of co-parenting courses is that a judge can finalize your divorce after you complete the course.
Other benefits include:
Fewer post-divorce disputes
More productive parenting
Parents maintain focus on the children rather than themselves
Even though divorce can stir up powerful emotions, the skills covered by a co-parenting course can help you and your child successfully navigate them.