Call To Begin A Consultation
Prior Lake952-226-2015
View Our Practice Areas

Alabama law would send divorcing parents back to school

When it comes to divorce and divorce-related issues, you would probably think that the laws in the majority of states were fairly concrete, meaning they have been in place for a significant amount of time and cover most any situation that is likely to arise. In other words, you wouldn't expect to see many state legislatures advancing many new divorce-related measures.

As we've shown on our blog multiple times before, however, lawmakers are frequently looking for ways to introduce changes to the divorce process. Indeed, the state to make headlines most recently for its efforts to amend the divorce process is Alabama, where one lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require all divorcing parents to go back to school.

Sponsored by state Rep. Bill Poole (R-Northport), the measure would require that all parents in the midst of divorce or separation proceedings attend a four-hour class designed to help them learn more about how their impending split will affect their children. Specifically, the class teaches parents about such issues as the importance of post-divorce cooperation and how children of different ages are affected by divorce.

The legislation dictates that the class, which would cost each parent a maximum of $75, could either be taken online (if permitted by the local jurisdiction) or as a live session taught by a licensed professional.

"The purpose of the bill is to simply provide a moment for parents to pause and get a little bit of assistance and direction to focus on the children," said Poole. "Children get stuck in the middle and become pawns in the divorce process sometimes."   

Couples could be excused from taking the class by a judge under any of the following circumstances:

  • The parents speak a language that the course is not offered in.
  • The parents don't have access to the Internet and a live session is not readily available.
  • There is an underlying domestic violence issue that precludes safe participation.
  • There are emergency circumstances that otherwise prevent parents from attending.

While some have expressed concern that the bill would create an unacceptable barrier to divorce, supporters indicate that bills like Poole's are already in place in the majority of the states and have proven incredibly effective in reducing post-divorce litigation among parents (i.e., legal disputes regarding child-access, change-of-custody, etc.).

Statistics from the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts show that 48 states currently offer some type of parenting class for divorced parents. For example, here in Minnesota, parents are required to take classes in the event they unable to reach an agreement on parenting time.

What are your thoughts on Alabama's proposed bill?

Those with questions or concerns regarding child custody, child support or other divorce-related matters here in Minnesota, should strongly consider consulting with an experienced attorney who can outline your options and enforce your rights. 

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

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

We Can Help Ask us how - please call our family law offices at 612-200-2822 or fill out the form below to arrange a consultation.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Offices Conveniently located in Minneapolis and Prior Lake
  • Minneapolis Office
    2100 Fifth Street Towers
    100 South Fifth Street
    Minneapolis, MN 55402

    Toll Free: 800-219-0858
    Phone: 612-200-2822
    Fax: 612-605-0968
    Minneapolis Law Office Map

    Prior Lake Office
    14093 Commerce Avenue
    Prior Lake, MN 55372

    Toll Free: 800-219-0858
    Phone: 952-314-2617
    Phone: 952-226-2015
    Fax: 612-605-0968
    Map & Directions

  • Minneapolis Office Map
    • VISA
  • Prior Office Map