If you have gone through a divorce with minor children in Illinois or surrounding states, you may have been required to take online classes to help minimize the negative impact the divorce had on your children or you parenting.
In fact, Illinois law requires all parents going through any custody or visitation matter with minor children to take a parenting education program unless they have good reason not to.
The programs help educate parents on communicating with their children about the divorce and offer tips on co-parenting with an ex. They also give parents advice on helping their children deal with the life change that comes along with divorce as well as cover important issues such as parenting plans and child support.
A University of Illinois researcher who has been studying the online divorce education courses since 2011 said the numerous companies that have developed a wide range of courses are generally doing a good job and “appear to be very committed to helping families.”
However, she said that through her research she found room for improvement. For example, the researcher said that the parenting education courses could be more helpful if they were better catered to the individual circumstances of the family taking part.
Additionally, she said the programs would benefit from content that helps parents deal with the emotional struggles they may be facing during the divorce so that they are in a better place to help their children through the transition.
Finally, she said that the courses would also be wise to address issues that may arise in months or years down the road, such as introducing children to new partners or blended families.
Since there are so many online parenting education programs available today, participants might have a hard time selecting the best one. Ultimately, the researcher said that individuals should look for programs that are based on science-backed research in the divorce, child development and communication fields.
For more information and recommendations on selecting a parenting education program, talk to your family law attorney.
Source: PsychCentral, “No Easy Online Answers for Divorcing Co-Parents,” Rick Nauert, Aug. 28, 2014