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Utah Divorce Code 30-3-11.3

Utah Divorce Code 30-3-11.3

Parents with young children in the process of divorce or temporary separation in the state of Utah are required to attend two divorce instruction courses, an orientation course and an education course. Only parents with minor children are required to attend these courses.

Divorce Classes in Utah

Unmarried parents involved in custody or visitation case may also be required to attend these divorce education courses. The Utah family court does not issue a divorce decree until both parents have completed both courses and until both have provided the court with their certificates of course completion. Below is information to help you meet these Utah divorce course requirements. 30-3-11.3. Mandatory educational course for divorcing parents

The Orientation Course

Course Timeframe Requirement: If you are the divorce petitioner, you are required to attend the Divorce Orientation course no later than 60 days after you file your petition. Your spouse, the respondent, is required to attend the course no later than 30 days after he/she has been served with the petition. If either party to the divorce wants temporary orders of any kind from the Utah family court, the judge will not consider a motion for such orders until after the requesting party completes the courses.

Why is the Orientation Course Required?

The orientation course is for the purpose of educating parents about issues involved in divorce, alternatives to divorce, and available resources for divorced parents in Utah. Topics discussed in the orientation course include:
• Resources for strengthening or improving the marriage.
• Both positive and negative consequences of getting a divorce.
• The Utah family court divorce process.
• Resolutions of child custody and support conflicts that do not require filing for a divorce.
• Options for divorce processes (collaborative law, mediation, and litigation).
• Resources for divorced individuals.

The Education Course

The education course is for the purpose of helping parents going through divorce to better understand what children go through during divorce and their reactions to their circumstances in a divorce, so that parents can better help their children in adjusting to the major changes. Through the courses, parents come to learn the differences between reactions of children a different ages, how they can be expected to express their sense of loss and pain. And, parents are provided with professional recommendations for methods to help their children cope, during and after the divorce process. Some topics covered in the course include:
• The natural stages of grieving for children in a divorce.
• What the divorce experience is like for children. What parents should expect from children at each age level, during and after divorce.
• How parents can help children to adjust to their situation during a divorce, communicating with children about the divorce, what kids need to know and what they do not need to know.
• The stress effects on children from conflict between their parents, and ways to minimize the conflicts to which children are exposed during divorce.
• Promoting children’s self-esteem through parent’s behavior, encouraging children’s expression of their feelings during divorce.
• Children’s need for meaningful continued relationships with both of their parents, during the divorce process and afterward. Ways for divorcing parents to successfully cooperate and share responsibilities for children.
• The legal and financial issues involved in divorce.
Course Fees
• For both classroom and online courses, the Divorce Orientation course fee is $30, and the Divorce Education course fee is $35.
• Fees for the classroom Orientation course are discounted $15 for petitioners who attend the classroom courses within 30 days from filing the divorce petition.
• And, fees are also discounted $15 for respondents who attend the classroom courses within 30 days of receiving notice from the petitioner of their requirement to attend the courses. Fees for the online version of the Divorce Orientation course are not discounted.
• Cash is required for payment of fees for classroom courses, to be paid to the course instructor at the time of the class.
• Credit card is the required form of payment for online courses. Those fees can be paid through the secure payment portal through the online registration
• Fees can be waived by the judge. A financial disclosure and application can be filed with the court to request this waiver. Then, you must provide a copy of the waiver, ordered and signed by the judge, to your course instructor. For details on forms for waiving fees, see the Fees and Fee Waiver through the link provided here to the information page of the court’s website.


You are welcome to request an interpreter if you need one. An interpreter will be provided for you at no charge.

Online Utah Divorce Courses

You may take the Utah Divorce Orientation and the Divorce Education courses online. If you have received a court waiver of the fees for the courses, use the instructions for submitting the waiver to the USU Extension. The USU Extension is the only Utah family court approved online course provider for these two courses.
Court–Approved Course Providers
Ensure that you are taking your divorce courses from one of the court-approved providers of classroom or online versions of the courses. The Utah court system does not accept course certificates from unapproved providers. If your divorce or temporary separation case is currently pending, you must provide your case number to the course instructor. Notifying our children’s other parent about the education course requirements — As the petitioner, you are required to provide your spouse with notice of the divorce education course requirements. See a sample of the notification in the Forms section on the court’s website.

Divorce Education for Children (ages 9 – 12)

The Divorce Education for Children class is designed to help children between ages 9 to 12 learn about the natural emotional responses they may be experiencing during the divorce process and afterward. This course is provided free of charge. The course is conducted by a mental health professional, and it gives children a chance to work on developing skills for better communicating their feelings during a divorce to their parents. The course goal is to help minimize adverse effects of divorce on children. Children’s courses are provided at Logan, Provo, Ogden, and Salt Lake City. You can register online to take your children to one of the Divorce Education for Children classes nearest to your home.

Watching a DVD of Courses

In some cases the court will allow parties to a divorce to watch a DVD of the two courses instead of attending classes or taking the courses online, if you:
• live beyond 60 miles from the nearest class, or out of state
• are an in-patient at a medical facility.
• are detained in jail, prison, or are in a detention facility

If you are permitted to watch a DVD in lieu of taking the courses, you may go to a designated district court courthouse to view the DVD, or you can have the DVD mailed to your location so that you can watch it on your own.
Taking the Courses On your Own
Detained persons — Contact your counselor, case manager, or administrator for arrangements to watch the DVDs and to complete and sign your Statement of Completion of Divorce Education Requirements by DVD. No fees are charged for people who are detained or incarcerated.
Divorce Parenting Classes: State Requirements
What is Parent Education and Why Do Some States Require It?
Divorce is not easy on the parents or the children. Families have increasingly relied on the courts to resolve divorce issues and problems including child custody, visitation, child support, paternity, emergency protective orders, and restraining orders. As a result, courts have found that parental conflict related to divorce is a societal concern because children suffer potential short-term and long-term detrimental economic, emotional, and educational effects during times of family transition due to divorce. To address this concern, many courts have decided to mandate parent education classes.

Topics covered in parent education classes include:
• The issues and procedures for resolving time-sharing and child support disputes.
• The emotional experiences and problems of divorcing adults.
• The family problems and the emotional concerns and needs of the children.
• Family relationships and family dynamics.
• Financial responsibilities to a child or children.
• Issues regarding spousal or child abuse and neglect.
• Skill-based relationship education that may be generalized to parenting, workplace, school, neighborhood, and civic relationships.
• The availability of community services and resources.
What are the Benefits of Parent Education?
The children of divorcing parents who participated in the program benefited in several ways versus a control group of children whose parents did not participate in the program. These benefits included:
• Higher self-esteem
• Higher grades
• Fewer behavior problems
• Reduced drug and alcohol use
• Reduced early sexual activity
When following up years later, researchers found that the program had lasting positive effects with the children who were now in their 20s. These now adult children had fewer mental disorders and substance abuse problems, and their relationships with romantic partners were a higher quality than those in the control group.

Co Parenting Classes for Divorce

Going through a divorce is tough on both parents and their children. And it can be hard to maintain a positive attitude for the benefit of your kids. But you can help minimize the trauma and ease the transition by taking a co-parenting course. These parenting classes for divorce focus on helping parents learn how to end the conflict and successfully co-parent after they separate.

Why should I take a parenting class?

Many states now require the completion of a parent education program before a divorce or court order concerning custody will be finalized. Court ordered divorce parenting classes are usually focused on ensuring the parents continue to co-parent their children when they are no longer together. They teach essential parenting and communication skills to help keep children out of the middle of the parent’s conflict. The court can also decide to order these classes if the divorce is deemed as high conflict. The parents are taught how to reduce the tension by ensuring they interact less with each other and more with their children after the divorce. When children are the focus of their parent’s attention, they are less likely to feel neglected or blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. In states where co-parenting classes are not mandatory, couples are still advised to take the class as well. By focusing on how to deal with issues that affect both parents as well as the children, the whole family can avoid a lot of the trauma of divorce. The parents are also taught how to recognize any patterns of trauma in the children. They may start to act out as a result of anger and frustration, get depressed or even withdrawn socially. Parenting classes can help parents recognize this type of behavior and help their child understand their feeling and learn appropriate ways to deal with the changes.

Where are parenting classes for divorce held?

In cases of court ordered classes, there are specific providers to administer the classes and the court may require a certificate of completion before finalizing a divorce. The court will usually provide a list of available classes in the area. You can also ask your lawyer for such a list. Even if you aren’t required to take a parenting class, you can still ask the court for a list of providers. There are also classes offered by community-based providers such as community colleges, the United Way, and various churches. And some counseling centers often offer co-parenting course to the general public. You can start your search for these services by using the internet or calling directly.

Can I take an online parenting class?

Taking an online parenting class is often more convenient and offers a lot more privacy than locally hosted classes. Online classes cover the same material as many local classes without the inconvenience of having to take time off work or having to find a baby sitter. You can learn at your own pace or review a section before moving on to the next one. If a co-parenting class isn’t required for your divorce, it will probably be a lot easier to take the class online. For court ordered parenting classes for divorce, you will need to make sure the court will recognize the online course before you take it. Each state, county, and judge may have different requirements. Therefore, you want to get prior approval from the court before you enroll in an online course to make sure they will accept the certificate of completion. If the court won’t approve the course, you’ll need to attend a local parenting class approved by the court. One really good online program to check out is The Center for Divorce Education. They offer the Children in Between Program which was created by distinguished psychologist Dr. Donald Gordon. It is an interactive, skills-based approach to helping reduce the stress of divorce on both parents and children. Take the first step to improving your parenting and co-parenting skills while protecting and enhancing your child’s emotional health.

How Long are Court-Ordered Parenting Classes?

According to this research, judges or attorneys teach court-ordered parenting classes for many reasons, depending on what the court deems fit. Some classes are a necessity, others a requirement, and some are highly recommended. Most classes are about child custody and visitation, but they also can be about divorce and separation or feared domestic conflicts and neglect. These classes have a huge impact on solving most parenting issues and creating a more peaceful environment for children to thrive. It is important to ask questions during class sessions to do well and gain the most benefit from them. Court-ordered parenting classes also have flexible schedules to fit parents’ needs and certificates upon completion.

How Long do Parenting Classes Last?

The problem with court-ordered parenting classes is that the parents rush through and only worry about completing them in order to please the courts. However, parenting classes, as spelled out in this study, are not about the number or length of class sessions but mainly about learning the practicality of what is taught. Depending on the reason for taking a class, a class can take up to two months to complete, with one- to two-hour sessions per day. The completion time can be shortened if the duration of each class session is increased to four to six hours a day. There is also a difference in duration between physical classes and online classes. Online options are often more convenient and private; hence, many people prefer them. They are a lot shorter since parents can choose to study full-time and so complete a class in less than a month. Daily sessions range from two hours to as long as eight hours. The longer the session is, the shorter the completion time will be. Parents can choose from a variety of options and find what works for them.

Parenting Classes Schedules

The most common parenting schedules are as follows:
• Four-hour classes. Parents are allowed to log in any time within twenty-four hours at their own convenience and take lessons for up to four hours. The course lasts up to a month, and tests can be retaken if need be.
• Five- to eight-hour classes. Parents get access for up to eight hours a day from the comfort of home and can take parenting classes for up to a month. Tests and certifications are awarded.
• Nine- to twelve-hour lessons. This option allows parents to take classes for up to twelve hours a day on any day of the week around the clock, and parents are at liberty to ask for a time extension.
• Co-parenting classes. Take these classes with a co-parent to learn how to adjust to custody and visitation of children. These classes are for parents who are separating or divorcing. Parents can access the notes all day, every day for up to a month.

Utah Code 30-3-11.3

When you need legal help with a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law LLC at (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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