Q. What is divorce education and why does my court require people to attend?
A. Divorce is a common event in our society. Because of this, courts around the country are implementing divorce education programs as a first line of defense when petitions are filed for divorce. Parents who attend divorce education programs are better able to work cooperatively for the benefit of their children by learning practical skills to prevent or reduce a child’s anxiety, aggression, depression and behavior problems; and increasing social skills critical to a child’s post-divorce adjustment. Given the reality of divorce today, the efforts parents put forth and the accomplishments they achieve through divorce education will benefit their children in the long run providing a happy and healthy future. Divorce education programs are another judicial tool available to assist families in resolving their conflicts without continuous litigation.
Q. We are not having any problems in our divorce and do not need counseling or our family is already in counseling, do we have to attend Families In Transition (FIT)?
A. Yes, you must attend because you are under a Court Order. FIT is not counseling, it is an intervention based program that provides practical skills information to cope more effectively with divorce related issues.
Q. Do I have to attend all sessions?
A. Yes, FIT is a 6-hour program that is divided into either two 3-hour or three 2-hour sessions. Some sites may offer a 6-hour Saturday class.
Q. Can parents attend sessions together?
A. No, parents attend separate sessions. The program acknowledges that for some parents this would be an difficult situation.
Q. What is the difference between the parent/child group and the parent only group?
A. Either parent can bring the children. The parent only group is for the parent who attends without the children. The parent/child group has three groups running concurrently but separate sessions (parent group, adolescent group, and a children’s group).
Q. Do I have to attend if my children are under the required age of attendance?
A. Yes, parents attend without the children. Parents can select either group to attend, but cannot attend the same group.
Q. What happens if I miss a session?
A. You will have to make up the session you missed before notification of completion can be submitted to the court.
Q. What if one parent fails to attend FIT?
A. If you are the parent filing for the divorce, you must attend FIT. If the other parent fails to attend, the divorce may still be granted; however, the court may hold that parent in contempt of court or impose other sanctions for failure to comply with a Court Order.
Q. I have moved out of state, what should I do about attending the required divorce education program?
A. Contact the court in your jurisdiction for available divorce education programs equivalent to the FIT program. There are numerous divorce education programs around the country and have internet sites.
Q. My work schedule will make it difficult for me to attend FIT. What can I do?
A. You are under a Court Order to attend the program. Classes are scheduled at various times to accommodate most work schedules. There are numerous counties that offer FIT, check surrounding counties for alternative times.
Q. I have called one or more sites and they are full. What can I do?
A. Sites fill up quickly and it is your responsibility to register as soon as you receive this information. FIT is often unable to accommodate individuals who are attempting to schedule at the last minute.
Q. Am I required to pay for this program?
A. Yes, each parent is required to pay a fee. The program fees to not exceed $75 per parent, however, some sites may offer reduced rates for low income or in forma pauperis.
Q. How will the court know I have completed the FIT program?
A. The Court Notification of Completion is filed with the court by you or the Coordinator.
Q. Will I receive a certificate for attending the FIT program?
A. Yes, each participant (parents, adolescents, and children) receive a Program Certificate of Attendance.