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Divorce class for parents with kids: common across country

Recent national attention being focused on family law-related legislation in Alabama serves as a reminder that many states -- including Florida -- impose a class requirement on divorcing parents with children.

The would-be Alabama law is still at the fledgling stage, being a bill that has just passed through that state’s House Judiciary Committee unanimously. The legislation still has a few hoops to jump through before it will become law; namely, both the full Alabama House and Senate must approve it, followed by the governor’s endorsement.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Poole (R-Northport) says it is not seeking to dissuade any couple from following through on divorce plans. Poole says that its sole intent “is to simply provide a moment for parents to pause and get a bit of assistance and direction to focus on the children.”

If the bill is enacted into law, it will require divorcing couples with children under 16 to take a single four-hour class. The stated intent is to ensure that children’s special sensitivities and needs are noted in the divorce process.

Judges would have discretionary power to grant exceptions to the attendance requirement in certain instances.

Proponents of such classes cite their clear benefits. One commentator says that, “Statistically, across the country, these couples [course participants] are much less likely to litigate.”

One study indicates that 48 American states offer such divorce classes, with a number of different variances built in to reflect local needs and requirements.

Florida residents with questions concerning divorce classes for parents can contact an experienced Miami-based family law attorney for information.

Source: USA TODAY, "Ala. looks at mandating divorce classes for parents," Kala Kachmar (The Montgomery Advertiser), Feb. 25, 2014

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