Is a Parenting Class Mandatory in Washington State?

Posted by Alesha Struthers Aug 26, 2021

If you are filing for divorce in Washington state, a parenting class or parenting seminar is mandatory. The parenting class isn't to make either parent feel as if getting a divorce is the wrong decision or that they've done something wrong. Rather, it is to give them additional ideas, skills, and tools that they can use to co-parent together and parent in separate environments moving forward.

In this blog post, you'll learn more about the court-ordered Washington state parenting class. You'll learn how long the court-ordered parenting class takes, who is required to take the parenting class, where to find Washington state court-approved parenting classes, and what happens if your ex won't take the parenting class.

This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have specific concerns about divorce, separation, child custody, parenting plans, or the parenting class, the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers offers free initial consultations. Schedule your consultation now.

How Long Are Court-Ordered

The court ordered Washington state parenting classes to take a couple of hours to complete.

Washington Law: Do You Only Take the Parenting Class If You're Getting Divorced?

Yes, you only take the parenting class if you're getting divorced. The curriculum of the Washington state court-approved parenting class specifically addresses topics related to divorce, including:

  • How divorce will impact the emotions of the child
  • Strategies for better co-parenting
  • Custody, parenting time, and parenting plans
  • Mediation (which is required) and conflict resolution strategies

Other topics, such as developmental stages of children and how a parent's conduct can affect a child, are also addressed.

Where to Find Washington State Court Approved Parenting Classes

You must choose a Washington state court-approved parenting class. To start, visit the Superior Court website for your county. Visiting the official court website will tell you essential information such as whether the mandatory parenting class is in person, offered online, or currently being offered via mail (such as being done in King County). As of July 2021, Pierce County offers its parenting class online.  Snohomish County Court recently approved Children in Between, an online workshop, and Successful Co-Parenting, another online workshop. King County's parenting class is conducted through Zoom.

You must choose Washington state court-approved parenting classes. Doing so fulfills your obligation to the court so that you can move forward in the divorce process. That moves us on to our next question.

What If Your Ex Won't Take the Parenting Class in Washington State?

Let's address one side note to this first. You do not have to take the same parenting class as your spouse. Additionally, if domestic violence is involved, a waiver may be issued to complete the seminar, or the parent who is the victim may be allowed to attend a seminar for battered spouses.

With that said, if your ex won't take the parenting class in Washington state, you are not excused from completing it. The progress of your divorce or receiving your final parenting plan will not (ultimately) occur unless you are the petitioner and you are the one who has not completed the parenting class. Willful refusal or delay may be deemed contempt by the court. The court has the option to sanction, find in your favor, strike the pleadings, or provide a default entry.   

Free Consultation: Washington State Parenting Class for Divorce

If you're filing for divorce or need representation during your divorce, you must complete a mandatory parenting class. Yet, divorce can be complicated. It's crucial to make sure that you have the best possible representation during your divorce. Schedule your free consultation now with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers.

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.