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Coursework is available to aid divorcing parents in Georgia

Many people in Georgia put off divorce because they are worried about the effect it will have on their children. The truth is that divorce does affect children--whether they are young or whether they are all grown up. However, being sensitive to children's emotions and offering them the support they need is often the key to parenting well during divorce. Unfortunately, many parents are engulfed by the stress and trauma of divorce themselves, and their children's needs wind up on the back burner.

In order to help parents best serve their children during the difficult process of divorce, many organizations offer parenting seminars on this topic. In fact, a number of states mandate such classes for all divorcing parents. Here in Georgia, the offerings and requirements of divorce-related parenting classes vary from county to county.

While most people might agree that educating parents about how divorce affects children is a good thing, it is controversial for states to require parents to take such classes in order to obtain a divorce. However, at this time at least 19 states do have such a requirement, and one other state is currently considering mandating classes. In other states, judges have the discretion to order parents to take classes; almost every state offers some type of divorce-related parenting education.

Those who are against requiring parents to complete such coursework--which often involves fees--argue that it presents an unnecessary barrier to divorce. Supporters of the mandates point to data that shows that the parenting classes help reduce litigation and conflict. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which facilitates some of these classes, such programs can lead to a 30 to 50 percent decrease in conflicts between parents.

Divorcing parents in Georgia may want to ask their divorce attorneys whether any coursework will be required of them. In cases where classes are not necessary, parents should still learn to understand how to support their children and protect their interests during and after divorce.

Source: USA Today, "Ala. looks at mandating divorce classes for parents," Kala Kachmar, Feb. 25, 2014

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