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What is divorce education and does it work?

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Divorce education is a form of parent education. It is designed for parents who have experienced:

  • Divorce.

  • Separation.

  • Changes in custody.

Divorce education emerged in the 1980s. It was a response to recognition that:

  • Some families experience poorer outcomes during or after divorce.

  • Improvements in parental knowledge and behavior change could improve outcomes.

Most states have court mandates related to parental education. Parents experiencing a divorce, separation, or custody change are often required to take education. The goal is to improve child and family outcomes.

As of 2013, Parents Forever was one of 20 Extension-based divorce education programs offered nationwide.

A meta-analysis conducted in 2011 by Fackrell, Hawkins and Kay found that:

  • Divorce education programs are moderately effective in improving outcomes for parents and families.

  • Programs need to test their effectiveness using more rigorous study designs. This would help the further bolster their claim of effectiveness.

Extension has evaluated Parents Forever™ for over a decade. Get more information on the Completed Parents Forever™ research and evaluation projects.

Emily Becher, research associate

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