Making Co-Parenting Easier: Understanding Wisconsin's Parenting Class Requirement for Divorce
Divorce is never easy, and it will ultimately result in a permanent change of lifestyle for you and your family. Navigating all of these changes can be especially challenging when you have children. Even though you are getting divorced, your children will still have two parents, and you and your ex must learn how to work together as successful co-parents long after the divorce orders are granted. To support you in this difficult transition, Wisconsin requires all divorcing couples with children to take an approved co-parenting class.
What is a parenting class?
A parenting class is a specialized training program designed specifically for parents who are going through a divorce or legal separation. In compliance with Wisconsin statutes, these classes never exceed 4 hours in length, and they train parents how to deal with issues related to the impact of parental separation on a child's development and changes in family dynamics. These classes provide strategies to reduce the stress of divorce on children. Before your divorce can be granted, you must complete a parenting course, but you are not required to take the same course as your ex.
You must obtain a certificate of completion from an approved parenting course before the final judgment of the divorce or in timely compliance with any existing orders in your case. The court may not require the parties to attend a class as a condition to grant the final judgment or order in the divorce or paternity action, however, the court may refuse to hear a custody or physical placement motion of a party who refuses to attend a class.
Benefits of Enrolling in a Parenting Class
Even if you consider yourself a proficient parent, raising a child with your ex during and after your divorce can present unique challenges for your family. A parenting class can equip you with valuable tools and resources to incorporate into your daily routines with your children as your family goes through this emotional change in circumstances. By participating, you will gain insight into dealing with many post-divorce parenting issues, including parenting disputes. Usually, these classes are conducted by experienced professionals such as therapists or family counselors who are well-versed in handling family dynamics during and after marriage dissolution; however, the classes are not meant to take the place of regular appointments with a licensed therapist.
Approved Parenting Classes: Convenience & Accessibility
Most Wisconsin courts offer an in-person course a few times a month at a low cost through family court services. However, finding an approved parenting class is now more accessible than ever, with many options available online. While these courses usually cost more than the ones offered through the county courts, many can be conveniently completed 100% online, requiring only a computer or tablet with internet connectivity. Once you complete the course requirements, you will be issued a certificate of completion, which you must provide to the court during your divorce hearing. The cost of the course will be your responsibility, but most programs are highly affordable and offer flexible options to accommodate your schedule.