When parents file for divorce, they may not fully understand what is about to take place and how it may affect the children of the couple. For this reason, Utah requires couples to attend a class in dealing with the issues involved in a divorce. A new bill before the Utah legislature seeks to ensure couples, especially parents, actually complete the course prior to filing for divorce or engaging in divorce mediation.
The idea of this bill is to require parents planning on filing for divorce to first complete the course. Currently, the law says this divorce orientation course must be completed within a 60-day period from the date of filing for divorce. The bill is requiring divorce courts to request documented certification of course completion prior to any temporary orders being issued.
The only exception to this bill is in verified cases of abuse where a child or the petitioner’s safety is jeopardized. Only then will the necessary requirements be waived. Like many courses offered for a variety of reasons, such as traffic school and pre-bankruptcy classes, they may either be taken in person, digitally by DVD or online. Online courses do offer the convenience of being completed at the leisure of the parent and could aid those in a rural setting where an in-person course would create hardship. The main concerns are regarding course completion verification for the court and the quality of the instruction given.
Many Utah parents contemplating divorce might see the benefits from such a bill. The more information a parent has regarding the divorce process, the more informed choices they can make regarding the welfare of their children. Whether a couple decides to attend divorce mediation or go to court, the information provided by the course could at least provide some basic knowledge of what is to come.
Source: deseretnews.com, Lawmaker looks to ensure completion of divorce orientation course, Madeleine Brown, Feb. 13, 2014