Frequently asked questions by families
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Get answers to some of the more common questions families ask about Parents Forever™.
Parents and other caregivers take a course like Parents Forever™ for several reasons. Usually they 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™.
No; in fact, we encourage you to take the classes as early in the divorce process as possible, even before you go to court.
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.
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.
Both our online and in-person Parents Forever classes, for Minnesota parents, 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.
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.
It is up to the judge to enforce the court order.
Can I get excused from this requirement?
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. Get more information about Parents Forever™ in-person courses. If you are in North Dakota, visit their program website for information about in-person offerings: NDSU: Parents Forever™.
Both versions of the class are well-designed and contain the same information. Both meet all 25 minimum standards required for Minnesota court-ordered education. It really comes down to availability and learning style. When deciding what would work best for you, see the quick comparison at in-person and online course comparison.
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.
Also, 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 find an in-person Parents Forever course offered in your state, the Parents Forever™ Online Course for Parents would probably work best.
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.
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.
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. (You may also be interested in the Parents Forever™ Online Course for North Dakota Parents.)
It may still be worth looking at Parents Forever In-Person Courses. Availability varies greatly among counties.
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. Get contact information on the different program webpages linked off Parents Forever™ in-person courses.
At this time, it is not possible to make up an in-person class through our online course system.
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.
For the Parents Forever™ in-person courses in Minnesota , the hosting agency can give you information about processing IFPs.
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.
For the online course, see how to Apply for a reduced fee for the online course. This is only available to Minnesotans.
For in-person classes, local Parents Forever™ programs determine their own sliding fee scale. Get more information about Parents Forever™ in-person courses.
Reduced fees are not available for those taking the North Dakota version of the online course or for those that are not in Minnesota.
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.