The state of Illinois recognizes that many children may experience negative short-term and long-term effects related to their parents’ divorce. To help mitigate the impact, parents with minor children who file for divorce are required to attend and complete a class. DuPage County offers a helpful summary of the parent education requirement and information about enrolling in the mandatory class.
What is the Law?
The Illinois Supreme Court requires that all parents involved in a divorce or paternity case complete a 4-hour parenting course. The parenting course is designed to educate parents about likely reactions by their children to visitation and custody arrangements. It also provides information that the parents can apply in easing the adjustment for minors. During the classes, parents are taught about common methods that children of different ages express emotions, like anger and confusion, following a divorce.
In many cases, a final divorce decree will not be granted until both parties to the divorce have completed the course requirements and have presented a certificate of course completion to the court. Under certain circumstances, consequences may be enforced by the court for failing to meet the required parenting class obligations. For example, a parent who does not meet the requirements may not be allowed joint parental responsibility or visitation. However, the court may excuse a party from attending the parenting course, or from completing the course within the required time, for good cause.
How Can The Course Help?
The parenting course will often cover topics such as:
- Grief stages common to divorce;
- Strategies to talk with children about the separation. This may include sharing ideas about what details should not be discussed with the kids.
- Information about child development and how psychological understanding regarding child maturity affects their ability to deal with the divorce.
- How and why conflict between parents creates stress for children, and how to decrease children’s exposure to conflict;
- The financial and legal aspects of divorce; and
- An emphasis on the importance of continued stability in the family relationship after the separation, including suggestions for cooperation between separated parents.
The Illinois parenting course is not just important because it is mandated by law but also because the class promotes the best interests of children in divorce and custody cases.
Get Help – Contact a Family Law Attorney
For more information on this issue and other Illinois family law matters, contact an experienced DuPage county divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Kathryn L. Harry & Associates today. Call (877) 889-4515 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced legal professional about your case.