In Florida, Do I Have to Take A Parenting Class?

Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.

1264271_notebook.jpgIn Florida divorce cases involving children, the parents are required to attend a DCF approved parenting class to help them learn ways of talking with their children and each other about divorce, timesharing and other issues. In North Florida courts, like Jacksonville, the family law judges require the same course be completed in paternity cases as well.

Recently, Jacksonville’s First Coast News reported that the online course, approved in areas like St. Johns County, can actually be completed by a dog. The fact is that the DCF online course does not require individuals taking the course to continuously stay engaged in the program. The class takes four hours and as long as someone is logged into the site, having paid, then once the four hours are done they get a certificate of completion. The idea from the article is that in-person classes like those provided at Hope Haven are more beneficial to the parents and children because it guarantees that the parents are listening and engaging since they have to participate in roll-play.

The class is designed to assist parents in understanding different parenting techniques and, in the process, to help avoid issues of child abuse. If you are going through a divorce or paternity case, think about the benefit to your child in attending the class, whether you do online or the in-person class. You have a course for four hours, but it helps to teach techniques that will be beneficial to you and your child for the next 18 years.

If you are going through a divorce or paternity case in Duval, Clay or St. Johns County, you should speak to an attorney about the court’s requirements on you during your case and understand your rights and options.