The Children’s Hope for Family Act applies only to a parent considering divorce 1) on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and 2) who have one or more minor dependent children or are pregnant.
1- The parent considering divorce (plaintiff) will be required to complete a minimum of four hours of family and relationship education in order to file a petition for divorce, without any waiting period following the course completion. While it is recommended that other parent (defendant) complete the course as well, this is not part of the legislation, leaving that to the discretion of each circuit’s superior court, should they choose to require it.
2- This family and relationship education can be completed face to face or online. Each circuit superior court will select and approve their course provider(s), as is currently the case in 40 of the 49 (82%) circuits that require some sort of education for parents after filing. If an online option is exercised, an interactive learning based module is required. The classes will provide information which focuses substantially on the outcome of divorce on families, especially children, and the benefits of marriage, instruction on financial planning, communication skills, conflict resolution, co parenting, healthy relationship traits, and options for reconciliation or mediation.
3- The course completion certificate is valid for a period of 120 days.
4- This legislation is budget neutral, as the participants will pay for the education (which they currently do), not to exceed $50 per person. If the parent claims financial hardship, the judge will authorize a provider that provides the education free of charge.