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Parenting Courses in a Florida Divorce

When there are minor children involved in your Florida divorce or paternity case, you are required to take a parenting course before you can obtain a court ordered Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage or Final Judgment of Paternity.

Back in 1994, the Florida legislature decided that far too many parents were going through the entire divorce or paternity process without realizing some of the harm that they were doing to their children. Judges were hearing many stories of one parent badmouthing the other parent in the presence of their children and otherwise doing and saying things which were unhealthy for the children to see and hear.

A parenting course lasts four hours and can be taken either separately or together by the divorcing parents. The law allows that it may be taken in person or online, but judges in some parts of the state require that it be in person.

For many people, the course serves as a reminder of things that you already know. It deals with treating the other parent with respect in the presence of the children, keeping good communication lines open, the effect of domestic violence on children, being mindful of the stress that children are under during the separation process and other aspects of the family dynamic. For some people, it is a wakeup call to start being the better parent that they never knew how to be. Your expert Tampa divorce lawyer will have a list of the parenting courses near you.

Bottom Line: Early in the divorce or paternity process, it is a good idea to comply with the requirement that you attend a parenting course. You just might learn something that will help you to be a better parent during this difficult time.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)


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Florida is a no-fault divorce state. The only requirements to getting a Florida divorce is that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that the filing spouse meets the residency requirements. The only other ground for divorce in Florida besides the marriage being irretrievably broken is mental incapacity of one of the spouses.
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