In Utah, the courts take the needs of children whose parents are going through a divorce very seriously. In fact, if the divorce petitioner and respondent have children together who are under-aged, the parents are required to take divorce education classes that other divorcees may not have to attend.
The petitioning parent must provide notice of the course requirements to the other party. There is a fee for the courses, although fairly nominal.
Divorce orientation course
The first class is the orientation course. The purpose is to explain to parents what the divorce process will be like and to enlighten them to the alternatives that they may be unaware of.
Divorce education course
The other mandatory class is the education course. This course strives to help parents understand how their divorce may impact their children and to appreciate their children's reactions to the divorce. Children of different ages may have different ways of sharing their feelings, including their pain, fear, confusion and loss that may result from their parents divorcing.
This education course hopes to better equip parents in supporting their children as they adjust to the changes while helping them build coping skills to help move forward in a healthy manner both during the divorce proceedings and after finalization.
Class for children
There is also a free, voluntary course offered for children of divorce. This class recognizes that children typically need help and encouragement in getting through a family break or divorce, just like adults do. The Divorce Education for Children class is for adolescents between the ages of 9 and 12 years.
The teacher is a mental health professional. He or she promotes skill development in the areas of improved communication of the children’s feelings to their parents. The hope is to reduce any negative effects the divorce process has on the children.
Parents themselves play an incredibly important role in how their children learn to transition through a divorce, particularly when sharing living time between both parents, an adjustment that is easier with proper education for both parents and children.