Parent Education in Divorce or Separation: Why do courts require parent education?

This article helps parents understand why they received a parent education order and how it will benefit them to follow the court order.

Courts require parents to attend a parent education course in litigation that involves children. Still, courts rarely explain what it is or why it is essential.  As a result, parents get angry and frustrated at yet another “hoop to jump through in the legal world.” It is necessary to follow through, take one of the court-approved parent education courses, and receive your Certificate of Completion and keep it for future reference. However, this comment might surprise you.

Do not take a parent education course because of the court requirement. Instead, please do it for yourself and your children. Even though some topics might be less relevant to you, the course will help you in multiple ways through information, suggestions, and encouragement.

Lois Warner – Impact Parent Education

How are parent education courses approved?

  • First, the judicial system decides the necessary criteria for parent education.
  • Next, the judicial system inspects each course to ensure it meets all requirements.
  • Finally, the courts issue the parent education order that includes a list of approved course providers.

What does the course teach?

There are over 25 required topics, but every program adds other helpful suggestions and resources.  Said as simply as possible, parent education provides education on (1) legal issues; (2) co-parenting; (3) parenting time (4) communication (5) resolving child-related conflicts; (5) lessening effects on children and providing them with emotional support; (6) transitioning from a love relationship into the business of successful co-parenting and other topics.

How much are the courses?

Courses are reasonably priced, but they do vary in cost.  They are usually within the $50-$80 range. A few state programs are court-funded, allowing for fee waivers, but most providers charge for the course to cover their expenses. All programs provide a reduced fee for low-income parents.  Impact Parent Education, for example, is a 50% reduction with proof of an informa pauperis order signed by the judge.  It’s effortless.  Other providers have a more complicated process.

Why do courts require parent education?

 What am I going to get out of a parent education course?

Follow through on any court order because it is never wise to ignore a court order.  However, follow your++ court order for the right reasons.

  •  First, parent education is a great resource!  You will receive information on relevant topics that will help you make better-informed decisions.  (Some topic materials may not be necessary to you, but they are to others.  (As an example, the topic of domestic violence and safety. Even still, it does not hurt to be aware of more complex challenges other parents are facing.)
  • Next, take the course because it will help you be better equipped to work with professionals saving you time and money.
  • Finally, and more importantly, it will help you make necessary family transitions more strategically.

Are all courses the same?

All courses cover the required topics, but the differences are in the topic delivery. In addition, there are differences in the amount of time it takes to complete a course.  Impact Parent Education, for example, is approximately 5 hours.  It varies because some parents read faster and take multiple notations.  Impact Parent Education uses visuals, reading, and listening.

These were my priorities under which I penned the Impact Parent Education Program.

  1. Parents need to feel valued. Therefore, I presented the materials in a relaxed and personable way because parents are already under enough stress. Of course, some dry (boring) topics are essential, and some issues are difficult to understand. Even still, these topics need not be grueling to be comprehensible.
  2. Parent education should teach parents to set some targeted goals that are important to them and their children.
  3. Parents need to feel equipped and empowered to make the necessary changes while having realistic expectations.
  4. Finally, parents need to feel that they accomplished something worthwhile when they complete their parent education.


I am convinced that parent education plays a vital role in helping parents transition children from one household into two more peacefully. Within the 20 years that I have provided parent education, I have reviewed hundreds of parental comments on the Impact Parent Education program. In most circumstances, parents are appreciative. They express how much the course helped them understand the importance of peaceful co-parenting and how much they were encouraged to make things better.

Lois Warner-Impact Parent Education for Divorce and Separating Parents