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Mandatory classes help not only children, but divorcing parents

Most of our readers are aware of the significant impact divorce can have on children. There is no doubt that parents need to be aware of what their children might be going through when they divorce. But should couples contemplating divorce be required to take classes educating them on the matter?  That is the question lawmakers in Alabama are currently considering.

The bill under consideration would make it mandatory for couples with children below the age of 16 to take a four hour long class to help them understand the needs of their children during and after divorce. A similar bill is already in place in Alaska, which requires parents going through a divorce to either watch a 48-minute video in person or to complete a class online. At least 19 other states have laws like this. 

The idea behind such a requirement is that parents need a little help in putting additional focus on their children during a process that can profoundly affect them. The benefits are not only for the children, however, but also for the parents who are less likely to go back to court when their children are better able to cope with the divorce.

Child custody disputes can happen not only because of the parents’ discontent with an arrangement, but especially when a child is unable to function well with the arrangement. It could be helpful for parents to go into child custody negotiations with extra sensitivity to their children’s developmental needs. Mandatory classes perhaps have a small role to play in improving the situation for children of divorced parents. 

Source: USA Today, “Ala. looks at mandating divorce classes for parents,” February 25, 2014. 

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