Am I Required to Attend a Parenting Course?

Section 61.21 of the Florida Statutes requires each party in a case that involves children and custody/time-sharing issues to attend a four-hour parenting course.  This “Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course” gives parents the opportunity to learn about, among other topics, how their court action may affect the emotional well-being of their children.

You should note that, except in very limited circumstances, a judge will not enter a final judgment until both parties have (i) attended the course and (ii) filed a certificate of completion with the clerk of the court.

Additionally, many jurisdictions, including the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Hillsborough County, Florida, require parties to attend the course in person (rather than online). Exceptions may be made for parties that (i) live outside of Florida, (ii) reside in a Florida county that does not provide a local course, or (iii) have some other special circumstance.

You may find information about approved Parent Education and Family Stabilization Courses in your area here, here, or here.

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