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Indiana's Parenting Class Requirement: Helping Children Cope with Divorce

It’s well known that divorce is rated as one of the top most stressful events in a person’s life. Financial matters aside, throwing children into the mix only heightens the stress levels of spouses going through a divorce. But, what about the stress a child goes through? Grappling with such a major life change, adjusting to going back and forth between two different households, and dealing with the loss of always having two parents around is no easy feat for a child. It’s important for parents to work together to ensure this kind of change is the least stressful as possible on a child and that’s why many local courts require parents to attend a parenting education class to help.

What is a Parenting Class?

A parenting class is an education workshop that focuses specifically on the needs of a child. These classes are designed to give parents the skills necessary to help a child cope with divorce, both during the pendency and after the divorce has been finalized. While a parenting class is focused on the needs of a child, the classes also center on helping parents develop healthy relationships between themselves post-dissolution. Learning to effectively co-parent is a giant step towards easing the stress for your little one.

While classes can vary from county to county, you can generally expect to learn about the following topics in a parenting class:

  • how families experience divorce;
  • how a child typically reacts to a divorce;
  • what developmental needs a child may have, specifically as it relates to a divorcing family;
  • how to handle conflicts and avoid putting the child in the middle;
  • fostering healthy relationships between each parent and child;
  • how to effectively work towards agreements for the benefit of the child; and
  • common pitfalls to avoid.

What are the Requirements?

Each county may have different requirements when it comes to a parenting class, so it’s important to check the local rules in the county that your divorce is pending. Hamilton County, for example, requires each parent to attend a parenting education class, the “Children Cope with Divorce” workshop, within sixty (60) days of the start of the divorce. Parents do not have to attend the class together and each parent is responsible for paying his/her own fees associated with the class. This is a mandatory requirement and failure to complete the class could result in a party being held in contempt of court.

Where Can I Attend?

Franciscan Health offers the “Children Cope with Divorce” parenting workshop (which satisfies local Hamilton County requirements) in several locations: Indianapolis, Noblesville, Nashville, Bloomington, Batesville and Shelbyville. Classes are limited and fill up quickly, so it’s important to schedule your attendance as soon as possible. Although the class is a one-time requirement, expect to block off at least a four-hour chunk of time for attendance. Several counties will accept the “Children Cope with Divorce” parenting class, but it’s important to check your county’s local requirements to ensure you are signing up for the right class.

At Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C., our team has the experience, the understanding, and the compassion to assist with your family law needs. If you have questions or concerns regarding the specific requirements relating to your divorce, please contact our firm at 317.DIVORCE.

tact our firm at 317.DIVORCE.