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What is a parent education class?

If you are a Minnesota parent going through a divorce, you no doubt are concerned about your children. You may be apprehensive about how they will handle what is sure to be a very difficult time for them as their family breaks up. You and your spouse may have serious disagreements about how to rear them.

As explained by the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Minnesota Statute 518.157 requires you and your spouse to attend a parent education class prior to going to court to finalize your divorce. The court has certified three such programs as follows:

  1. Co-Parenting 101 offered through Ellie Family Services
  2. Parenting Kids Through Divorce offered through the Ramsey County Co-Parenting Program
  3. The Co-Parenting Program offered through Headway Emotional Health Services

Purpose of the classes

The purpose of the classes is to educate you and your spouse about the impact that your divorce and family restructure has not only on your children, but also on you. Methods to prevent parenting time conflict are covered, as are dispute resolution options.

If custody and/or parenting time are being contested in your divorce, you and your spouse are required to attend a minimum of eight hours in a parenting class. The court can impose sanctions upon you if you fail to attend or fail to complete the program.

Strict confidentiality

Anything you or your spouse says during these classes is strictly confidential and not admissible in court under any circumstances. The instructor cannot be subpoenaed or called as a witness in any court proceeding. In addition, he or she may not disclose any information regarding either you or your spouse to anyone else, even your attorney. In fact, the only record that a course provider can keep on you is your attendance and completion of the program. While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help you understand the process and what to expect.

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