Parents seeking divorces may feel insulted by the notion of attending a co-parenting class. They may feel that there is nothing wrong with their parenting skills and the classes will hardly be effective in helping them deal with a difficult ex. While there may be some truth behind those feelings, the basic premise behind parenting classes is to help couples cope with the difficulties of co-parenting.
After all, a child's relationship with their parents will continue long after a divorce is finalized. Because of this, the Commonwealth of Virginia has found that a child's best interests are best served when parents are actively involved in the child's life. For this to happen, parents will have to productively address issues involving their children; chief among them, how to communicate with the other parent.
The child's best interests was compelling enough to require all parents in divorce actions to participate in a class or program approved by the state. Divorcees must attend such a class within 45 days of an initial court appearance or show proof that they have completed one within the 12 months prior to such an appearance.
There are a number of things that divorcing parents can learn from co-parenting classes, including:
Better means of communication - Co-parenting works through clear, respectful modes of communication. Indeed, it takes patience and practice, but divorcing parents can learn how to communicate without creating further strife.
Focusing on children's needs - This is important for parents who are still embroiled in emotional (and legal) battles. Children can sometimes be caught in the crossfire and be emotionally harmed. Additionally, they may even blame the break-up on themselves. A co-parenting class can help parents manage (and avoid) these issues.
If you have questions about parenting classes or other legal issues pertaining to custody, support or parenting time, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.