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Tuesday 05, Jun, 2018

Parenting Courses in Chicago Custody Cases

If you are filing for divorce in Chicago and have children from the marriage, it is important to know what the state requires in terms of parent education. While parents often know and understand their own children’s needs better than an individual or group tasked with providing parent education after a divorce, what many parents do not realize is that their kids will have reactions to the divorce—as well as to parenting time and parental responsibilities—that they may not have imagined. It can be difficult for a parent with little to no psychological training (and even for parents with psychological training) to know how to respond to certain emotions from their children, or how to respond to particular types of behavior.

Parent education courses provide parents with some of that information, and they also help parents to think about new modes of communication among themselves and their children. We will give you some more information about parent education courses in Cook County.

Mandatory Parent Education in Cook County

As we noted, and as the Circuit Court of Cook County explains, Illinois law provides that parents of minor children involving a custody case must complete court-authorized parent education program, except in certain circumstances. Parent education programs can also be required when one parent seeks a modification, or when a relocation issue arises. In addition, parents involved in a paternity case can also be required to complete a parenting education program.

The Circuit Court of Cook County emphasizes that, in order to satisfy this requirement, parents need to be sure that the program they attend is a court-authorized one. There are many different programs online that claim to be court-authorized, court-approved, or otherwise recognized by the Circuit Court of Cook County, but there are only two programs that have this designation:

  • Focus on Children in-class parent education program (FOCUS); and/or
  • Children in Between Online parent education program (CIBO).

If you complete another parent education program that is not one of the two listed above, it will not count toward the mandatory requirement. How about deciding between the two programs listed above? In most cases, parents can decide which program to complete. However, in situations where a parent has been ordered to mediation or to emergency intervention, the FOCUS program must be completed.

What Can a Parent Education Program Teach Me?

Many parents feel frustrated about the requirement of a parent education program, but they can help families to learn better communication skills during and after the divorce proceedings, including ways of improving communication between the parents during parenting time. These courses are also aimed at reducing conflict between parents more generally and improving collaboration.

The courses typically last four hours. If you select the CIBO course, you do not need to complete the course in a single four-hour session. Instead, you will have 30 days to complete the program and will be able to access the online course anytime during that 30-day window.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions about parenting education program requirements, a Chicago divorce lawyer can help. Contact Arami Law Office for more information.

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