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Leesburg Divorce Attorney > Blog > Child Custody > Parent Education Classes In Contested Child Custody Cases

Parent Education Classes In Contested Child Custody Cases


Child custody is one of the most contested issues to arise in divorce. Determining the rights and responsibilities of each party often proves challenging and parents may undergo a lengthy negotiation process before reaching final arrangements. In these types of cases, parent education classes are likely to be ordered by the court. Find out more about the process and what these classes aim to accomplish.

Mandated Parent Education Classes In Virginia

In cases of divorce, where there is likely to be a significant amount of animosity between the couple, resolving child custody issues can be particularly challenging. Fierce disputes can arise over the amount of time the child spends in each parent’s homes, rights regarding visitation on weekends, holidays, and school breaks, and pick-up or drop-off arrangements.

In any matter pertaining to children, the primary concern of the court is ensuring their best interests are protected. When dealing with disputed child custody cases, the judge is likely to mandate that both parties attend parent education classes. Under Section 16.1-278.15 of the Virginia Code, this involves a minimum four hour session in the 12 months prior to a divorce or within 45 days after a final order. Issues that will be addressed as part of parent education classes include:

  • The impact of separation and divorce on children;
  • The meaning of ‘parental responsibilities’ and how they are divided;
  • Options for resolving conflicts, both during child custody negotiations and once a parenting plan is in place;
  • The obligations of each parent in providing financially for the child and how child support payments are made.

Parent Education Classes In Loudoun County

People getting divorced often balk at being required to take parent education classes. It is generally reserved for contested child custody cases, but it is at the court’s discretion to order it in uncontested cases as well. Typically, the only way around this is to negotiate a parenting plan in advance with the help of an experienced Virginia child custody attorney.

If this is not possible and parent education classes are required, the Virginia Courts generally provide two options:

  1. Attend an in-person seminar: There are currently three parent education seminar providers in Loudoun County.
  2. Attend an online parent education seminar: The Virginia Courts provide a link to approved online seminar providers.

It is important to be aware that the four hour seminar requirement is a minimum. If there are still serious disputes between the parents that impact child custody, additional parent education classes may be ordered. Fees charged for these classes vary based on the parent’s income but generally do not exceed more than $50 per class.

Contact Our Loudoun County Child Custody Attorneys To Request A Consultation

Child custody is one of the most difficult issues to resolve in divorce. To protect your child and your rights as a parent, reach out to Schwartz Kalina, PLLC. We can represent you in negotiations and help you obtain the best possible arrangements. Call or contact our Leesburg child custody attorneys online to request a consultation today.




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