Frequently asked questions about Parents Forever™
Get answers to some of the more common questions families ask about Parents Forever™.
Taking a Parents Forever™ course will help you learn valuable skills and tools. This will help to reduce the effects of the family transition on yourself and your children.
After completing a Parents Forever™ course, you will be able to:
Describe the family transition journey and how each family member will be affected.
Recognize the role of self-care, parent-child relationships, and co-parenting in child well-being.
Identify internal and external resources and strategize how to leverage these resources to promote resilience for all involved.
The time spent on the course will vary by individual. The Minnesota Supreme Court recommends at least 8 hours of education to meet divorce education requirements.
Both our online and in-person Parents Forever classes meet for at least 8 hours. This is the amount recommended by the Minnesota Supreme Court. We know that this is a big investment of time for you. By taking a comprehensive approach, you will have the opportunity to learn the best tools to help you and your children through this difficult time.
The North Dakota version of the course is only 4.5 hours and may better meet the minimum requirements of your state. For more information, see Parents Forever™ online course for North Dakota parents.
Completing the online courses
You can go in and out of the online course as often as you like and complete at your own pace. Be sure to keep the internet ID and password you receive when you register.
The online course was created and led by the University of Minnesota Extension authors of the Parents Forever™ curriculum.
In-person class trainers education and experiences vary. In some counties, you will have a different trainer depending on the topic. In other places, there will be a male and female trainer team that teaches the entire series. We ask programs to ensure that all trainers have a professional degree in areas such as parent education, social work, counseling, law or mediation. In addition, we ask that all trainers receive training on the Parents Forever curriculum from the University of Minnesota Extension. All trainers have also been interviewed and approved by the local program offering the class.
We encourage all parents and other caregivers to take a course like Parents Forever™ as early in the divorce process as possible. In general, the people who take Parents Forever™ fall into two groups:
- They were told to take a parent education course by their judge, court personnel or attorney.
- They were concerned about their own and their children’s wellbeing after a family transition.
We have found that all parents going through family transitions such as divorce can benefit from Parents Forever™.
Education is part of the divorce process in most Minnesota counties. Court officials were concerned about how divorce and custody issues were affecting children. In 1998, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that required judges to court-order parents with contested custody and parenting time issues to a court-approved parent education class like Parents Forever. See more about the Minnesota Statute 518.157.
Beyond Minnesota, a growing number of states are also requiring some amount of education as part of the divorce process.
The court order is not a reflection on the quality of your parenting. When you go through a family change such as divorce, it can be very difficult for you and your children. Even the best parents need ideas for parenting during these challenging times. Parents Forever will give you information to help you make this transition less difficult.
If you have both been court-ordered, you will both need to take a class similar to Parents Forever.
If you take the in-person course, many communities take steps to have parents attend different class sessions. You will both still receive the same information. We have found that everyone is better able to listen and ask their questions when the other parent is not in the same room.
In the online version, you will each complete the course independently.
Attending the course
It is up to the judge to enforce the court order.
Can I get excused?
It is rare for a judge to offer exceptions because of time restraints.
The online version of the course is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Some of the in-person classes are offered evenings and weekends. If you are in North Dakota, visit their program website for information about in-person offerings: NDSU: Parents Forever™.
Contact your Parents Forever™ program coordinator or facilitator to make arrangements to take the class you missed. In some programs, they may charge a fee to reschedule the class.
At this time, it is not possible to make up an in-person class through our online course system.
The Parents Forever™ Online Course for Parents (as well as the Parents Forever™ Online Course for North Dakota Parents) has certain computer requirements. See Is my computer ready to take the course?
For the in-person version, you may want to bring paper and pen to take notes. All other class materials are supplied.
Parents Forever™ online course for parents is one of two online offerings approved by the Minnesota Supreme Court. We created the course in partnership with the Minnesota Supreme court.
Some courses may claim to meet minimum requirements or that they have been approved in Minnesota. Some might even look “official” by using the Minnesota state seal. That being said, many of them are not approved and should not be accepted as meeting the court order. Only courses listed on the Minnesota Judicial Branch webpages are approved. When in doubt, check with your judge, court personnel or attorney.
In general, Minnesota has some of the most stringent standards for key topics to be taught and hours of education required. Because Parents Forever™ has been tailored to meet these high standards, it often meets the divorce education requirements of other states. Parents Forever™ is currently taught in several states besides Minnesota.
We have partnered with North Dakota State University Extension Service to tailor a version of our online course specifically for North Dakota parents. Get more information about the Parents Forever™ Online Course for North Dakota Parents.
To ensure that Parents Forever™ meets your state’s requirements, check with your state’s Supreme Court. If they are not familiar with Parents Forever™, share the mandatory curriculum topics for parent education that are covered in our program. Mention that our program is designed to be taught in a minimum of 8 hours of education.
Unless you can't find an in-person Parents Forever course offered in your state, the Parents Forever™ Online Course for Parents would probably work best.
Do I have to complete the classes before the court hearing?
This is up to the judge. Read your court order carefully to see what is required. We have found from experience that it is best to take the classes as early in the divorce process as possible. The information presented in the classes will help you get a head start on reducing conflict and ensuring that you and your children’s needs are met through the transition.
Narrow sign up window
If you have a narrow window for signing up and completing the course, the Parents Forever™ Online Course for Parents may be more practical for you.
It may still be worth looking at Parents Forever In-Person Courses, but availability varies greatly among counties.
Course fees and registration
How to pay with an IFP
In Minnesota, those with an IFP (in forma pauperis) are entitled to free education to meet their court-ordered requirement per Minnesota Statute 518.157, subd. 6.
- For the online course, see how to Apply for a reduced fee for the online course.
Sliding fee scale
In Minnesota, Minnesota Statute 518.157, subd. 6 requires programs to offer a sliding fee scale for parents who cannot afford to pay the full fee.
- Apply for a reduced fee for the online course. This is only available to Minnesotans.
** Reduced fees are not available for those taking the North Dakota version of the online course or for those that are not in Minnesota.
Online course registration
Register for Parents Forever™ Online Course for Parents.
North Dakota registration
Follow the instructions to register for Parents Forever™ Online Course for North Dakota Parents.
Online course questions
Even though the online course has received official approval, not all judges/attorneys are familiar with the course. Even though most parents have not had difficulties getting the course approved, it is still recommended that you get the course approved by your judge/attorney before registering. It may help if you show them online course approved by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
After you completing each module, you will be asked to complete an online feedback form and quiz. After successfully completing all feedback forms and quizzes, you will be directed to print off your certificate of participation. This certificate is what you need to show your judge, court personnel, or attorney if the course was court-ordered.
The software used for this course, is easy to use. Once you get into the course, everything should be self-explanatory.
If you have trouble with the online course, contact Kate Welshons (email@example.com; 612-626-3958).