Parent Education Requirement

By law, all parents involved in a contested custody or parenting time case must take a parenting education class. See Minn. Stat. 518.157 (2017). Classes may be taken in-person or online. The law requires that people begin a class within thirty (30) days after the first paper is filed with the Court. Typically, classes run between four to eight hours in length.

The classes cover the following topics:

1) Positive communication techniques to use with your spouse;

2) How changing family composition and ongoing court proceedings effect kids;

3) How to prevent visitation disputes;

4) Dispute resolution methods (mediation, ENE, etc.)

5) The importance of placing your children's needs above your "rights."

When you complete the class, you get a Certificate of Completion that you must email to me. In turn, I will file it with the Court. If you don't complete the class or give me the Certificate, the Judge can sanction you or delay finalizing your divorce.

The cost varies. For example, the online class offered by the University of Minnesota -- Parents Forever Program costs $89.00. The Center for Divorce Education -- Children in Between costs $45.95. I can't say which is better because I am not a connoisseur of divorce education.

Either class is fine. Pick one. Or choose to go in person, although to me that seems like a lot of work for most people.

Theoretically, the Court could also order your children to go to a class. However, in my experience, that is rare. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw it happen.

Some people ask if they can skate without doing a class. It does happen. Usually, in cases where both parents agree on all custody and parenting time issues. Not many judges care in those cases.

But, trying to avoid the class when there is a dispute (or even potentially could be) is a terrible idea. Not only will you miss out on information that might help your family, but getting caught makes you look bad. Especially, if your spouse is already arguing that you're untrustworthy and unreliable. Just get it done. Many people do the class in one day.

Here are the links for the two online classes mentioned above:

University of Minnesota -- Parents Forever

Children in Between

Finally, in the past, some clients have searched online for a better "deal" on parenting education. If you want to go that route, more power to you. However, I won't waste my time trying to determine if the class meets the Minnesota Supreme Court's minimum standards. If I file your certificate and the Court rejects it, you will need to take one of the classes listed above.