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Are Parenting Classes Necessary During a Divorce in Florida?

According to statistics, Florida has one of the highest rates of divorce in the entire United States. In fact, it is ranked as number seven. Roughly 50,000 couples in the state of Florida file for divorce each year, which represents more than 15 percent of the population of the state. Approximately half of all marriages that end in divorce affect minor children.

Why are Divorce Rates in Florida so High?

One of the reasons that the divorce rate in Florida is so high is because the state is viewed as a place to start over. According to a marriage counselor in Divorce Magazine, many people travel to Florida to make a change in their lives. They believe the change of scenery, tropical climate and other features will help them overcome the issues in their marriage. However, in most cases the troubles persist, which makes the end of the marriage inevitable.


Another factor that plays a role in divorce is individual’s increased live expectancy. Many people make a move to Florida after they retire; however, with retirements lasting two and three decades, many couples reconsider if they want to remain with their spouse long-term. As a result, many retirees are seeking a divorce more often, which is contributing to the phenomenon called “gray divorce.”

Parenting Classes During a Divorce

Divorce alone can be complex and challenging for a couple. When children are involved, the issues become significantly more difficult to handle. In some cases, the judge handling your case may recommend a parenting class to help deal with all the changes that are coming.

When a couple seeks a divorce in the state of Florida that involves children, there are some courts that require a parenting class that has been approved by DCF – the Department of Children and Families. In a number of paternity cases in the state of Florida, the parents of the child or children in question will be required to attend the classes that divorced parents do. This is because the issues that each couple is facing are similar since the children are going to be living in two different homes.

Are Online Classes an Option?

In some situations, you may be able to enroll in an online classes. However, there are certain areas and courts that do not allow this. It will be up to the judge in your case whether or not this is acceptable. For example, divorce cases in St. Augustine can utilize online courses, but this is not permissible in Jacksonville. Unless one of the parents lives out-of-town, the parents involved in the Jacksonville divorce will be required to attend the class in person.

Recently, there have been a number of questions regarding if the online course that was available was effective as the course that is taken in person. According to a recent study that was published in the Jacksonville’s First Coast News, there was one online course that has been approved in areas such as St. Augustine that a dog or a person could complete.

The study that was done actually enrolled in the course to discover whether or not the program required any type of actual person to take it and it was discovered that this was not necessary. The class was designed to cover the material in a period of four hours. What the people handling the study discovered was that as long as the person remained logged into the website and they paid the court, they received the certification after the program was complete.

This report verified what the courts in Jacksonville has pushed, that the course taken in person are better because the parent receives the value of what is discussed and covered because they have to be in attendance and participate.

The Benefits Offered by Parenting Classes

In the past, parenting classes were mainly designed to help teach expecting or new parents the proper way to care for their newborn and how to handle the earliest stages of development. However, when you are getting separated from your spouse, or divorced, going to parenting classes has a different purpose.

When you are going through a divorce, then attending parenting classes is a best way you ensure you look out for the best interest of your child. While some people believe these classes are a way to criticize them for their parenting skills and ability, this is typically not the case.

The reality is that when you are getting a divorce, the parenting dynamic changes, which means you have to learn how to handle discipline, custody and other child related issues from separate homes and when you are living separate lives. With the parenting classes, you can gain real-life skills that will help ensure your child is properly cared for.

Is it Possible for Your Divorce Lawyer to Help You Avoid Parenting Classes?

If the judge orders you to attend parenting classes, then there isn’t much you can do. However, if you hire a divorce lawyer early enough in the case, they may be able to prevent this from occurring in your situation.

Keep in mind, family law issues are complex. The only way you will know what options you have is to hire a divorce lawyer in Florida. They can review the facts of your case, and let you know what you need to do or avoid doing to avoid having to attend parenting classes.

The fact is, hiring a divorce attorney is the best move you can make when separating from your spouse. They will help ensure your rights are protected at every turn. To learn more about divorce, parenting classes and the services offered by divorce lawyers in Florida, contact our team of attorneys at Estevez-Pazos Law Firm by calling 305-717-7130.

Additional reading:

Understanding the Uniform Child Custody Act and How it Protects Your Court Orders

What is a Social Investigation in a Child Custody Case?

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The Estevez-Pazos Law Firm, P.A.

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Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Fax: 305-234-7028
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