Can a Parent Be Ordered to Attend Classes or Participate in Parental Education Programs?

The short answer to this question is, “Yes, parents can be ordered by the Colorado court system to attend parental education classes.” In fact, most counties require parties with children to attend a parenting class before the case can conclude.

The goal of participation in these programs is to educate parents about children sharing their time between two parents’ homes and the impact this has on both parents and children. Educational programs also help parents adjust to their new roles by teaching co-parenting skills and strategies for working together in a cooperative manner. This ensures parents have the skills and knowledge it takes to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their children.

The Colorado court system recognizes that divorce and separation can have a negative impact on families and that some children suffer short and long-term consequences when exposed to their parent’s separation. By educating parents about the effect their actions have on their children, parents are better equipped to help and support their children as the family transitions.

According to C.R.S. § 14-10-123.7:

(2) A court may order a parent whose child is under eighteen years of age to attend a program designed to provide education concerning the impact of separation and divorce on children in cases in which the parent of a minor is a named party in a dissolution of marriage proceeding, a legal separation proceeding, a proceeding concerning the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time proceedings, or post decree proceedings involving the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time or proceedings in which the parent is the subject of a protection order issued pursuant to this article.

(3) Each judicial district, or combination of judicial districts as designated by the chief justice of the Colorado supreme court, may establish an educational program for divorcing and separating parents who are parties to any of the types of proceedings specified in subsection (2) of this section or arrange for the provision of such educational programs by private providers through competitively negotiated contracts. The educational program shall inform parents about the divorce process and its impact on adults and children and shall teach parents co-parenting skills and strategies so that they may continue to parent their children in a cooperative manner. Any such educational program shall be administered and monitored by the implementing judicial district or districts and shall be paid for by the participating parents in accordance with each parent’s ability to pay.

If you have been ordered to participate in parental education and you have questions, we can help. Contact Montgomery Little & Soran, PC at 303-773-8100.