Entertainment Love and Romance Take a Parenting Class to Help Navigate Divorce Class could boost your chances of winning custody Share PINTEREST Email Print Dona Monroe/UpperCut Images/Getty Images Love and Romance Divorce Relationships Sexuality Teens LGBTQ Friendship By Debrina Washington Family law attorney and writer University of Pittsburgh School of Law Skidmore College Debrina L. Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues. our editorial process Debrina Washington Updated May 23, 2019 Depending on the state you call home, courts might require separating or divorcing parents to attend parenting classes to determine how to communicate effectively to serve the child's best interests. Courts have found that parental conflict related to divorce can cause children potential short- and long-term detrimental economic, emotional, and educational effects. Generally, it is believed that co-parenting—when possible—serves the best interests of the child, so the court might encourage both parents to attend parenting classes to ensure a smooth transition for the child. Mandated Class In nearly half the states in the United States, the courts require that parents attend a court-mandated parenting class. Some municipalities require a class even if there is not a state law requiring it. In the other half of the states, a parenting class could be ordered if the judge feels it is necessary. Some situations where a parenting class might be mandated can be in the case of child custody proceedings, visitation proceedings, divorce, or legal separation involving children, any other parental proceedings, or in cases where there is alleged or actual domestic abuse. Parenting Class Goals Not all parenting classes are the same, but most have quite a few similarities. If a court orders you to attend a parenting class, you can expect that conflict resolution will be a common theme. Some things you might learn from the class could include how to be effective co-parents and ways to communicate best with your child or children. Your child may be between you, but remember, as parents, you are both on the same team—your child's team. In the parenting class, you may learn how to work together in making the most important decisions regarding your child's upbringing. Also, as parents either separated or newly divorced, there are many crucial decisions you need to make. The class will likely help you establish a parenting plan. Cost of Parenting Classes and Programs Parents will be required to pay for parenting classes or programs. Other people in support roles, like grandparents, can also sign up for the parenting program to help you or your child through this process. Boost Your Chance of Gaining Custody If a parenting class is mandated, the court will order both parents to attend the classes. Although parents cannot be forced to attend, if you are interested in winning child custody, it is recommended that you follow the judge's order. Attending the class is not a guarantee you can win custody, but it can help you boost your chance. Types of Parenting Classes You can complete a parenting class online or in person. Since there are different types of classes available, you should confirm with a mediator, arbitrator, judge, or your attorney that the use of the parenting program that you choose will be accepted by the court. Legal Advice For more information about child custody, have a look at the child custody guidelines of your state or get the counsel of a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction.