4 Things to Know about Washington State Parenting Classes

Posted by Alesha Struthers Aug 26, 2021

Washington state parenting classes are an essential part of the family law process. Yet, there are a lot of questions surrounding the need for classes. In this blog post, you'll learn four things about Washington state parenting classes:

  • Why parenting classes for divorce are necessary in Washington state
  • Examples of online Washington state parenting classes
  • Whether you can choose which parenting class for divorce you take
  • What happens when your ex won't take the parenting class in Washington state.

After reading this blog post, if you have questions about divorce, child custody, visitation, mediation, or family law matters, schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers.

This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Legal advice can only be provided by a licensed attorney. Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers to discuss your family law needs now.

Parenting Class for Divorce in Washington State: Why It's Necessary

The parenting class for divorce in Washington state has a bad reputation simply because it is commonly referred to as a parenting class. In reality, it is less about telling you how to be a parent. Washington state already assumes you know how to do that.

Getting a divorce from your spouse or ending a domestic partnership doesn't mean you don't know how to parent. That isn't the purpose of the class. The class is necessary because it educates you and your ex on several topics:

  • How to co-parent effectively while also parenting in separate environments
  • How divorce impacts your child emotionally
  • Information about parenting plans (which are required in Washington state)
  • Information regarding mediation (a required component of divorce and custody in many counties).

Understanding the emotional impact, how to effectively co-parent with your ex, how parenting plans work, and how mediation operates are essential. And, no, you do not have to attend the same class as your ex. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may qualify to take a special class instead of a parenting class. Additionally, if you are in need of resources, please visit our DV Services & Resources page.

Some Washington State Courts Parenting Classes Are Online

Before you take any online parenting class and decide to submit it to the judge presiding over your divorce case and call it day, there is something important you should know. Each superior court may choose whether they will allow online parenting classes, and if they allow them, the court also decides which online courses are approved. So, in short, not just any random online parenting class will do.

Check the website of the county court handling your divorce to determine whether it approves of any online parenting classes. Pierce County, for example, approves of specific online courses. So does Snohomish County. Yet, King County does not have approved online seminars as of July 2021. They have mail-only participation. So, especially because of COVID, check with the court hearing your matter to determine the current case schedule.

Can You Choose Which Parenting Class for Divorce You Want to Take?

When a district court provides parenting class options, you can choose which class you want to take. For example, Snohomish County has two approved parenting classes for divorce. So, if you're getting a divorce in Snohomish County, you could choose which of the approved courses you want to take. You would complete them online, receive your certificate of completion, and submit it to the court.

When your Ex Won't Take the Parenting Class in Washington State

When your ex won't take the parenting class in Washington state, the first thing you must know is that the only person you can control is you. It is not your responsibility to attempt to force, cajole, plead with, or otherwise attempt to get your ex to attend the parenting class for divorce.

We understand this raises some concerns since the parenting class is a requirement to complete the divorce. However, Washington state law and the court have the capacity to handle the situation. Although the court may, at times, provide an opportunity for your ex to complete the parenting class, if they refuse, there are consequences that include and are not limited to contempt and monetary fines. If the ex that refuses to take the parenting class is the petitioner, the divorce petition may be dismissed.

Free Initial Consultation: Divorce & Parenting Classes

Divorce, custody, and child support can be stressful. The Law Offices of Alesha Struthers is here to help! You need a divorce lawyer who understands mediation, divorce law, and parenting plans in Washington state. The Law Offices of Alesha Struthers focuses on family law as well as mediation. To learn how we can help you, schedule your free consultation now.

Disclaimer: This publication is not legal advice. It is intended as legal information only. For legal advice specific to your needs, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers, PS at 800-972-0411.

Posted August 2021.