How Long Do Parenting Classes Last?

Parenting classes are an essential resource for individuals going through family law cases that involve child custody or parenting time. These classes provide valuable information and strategies to help parents navigate the challenges and changes that come with divorce or separation. In this article, we will discuss the key aspects of parenting classes, including the class curriculum and teachers, class length and cost, registration process, safety concerns, attending with other parties, non-English class options, and situations that require a re-take.

Class Curriculum and Teachers

What is the class about?

The “Helping Your Children Cope with Family Change” class covers a wide range of topics, including legal issues, child development, co-parenting strategies, conflict resolution, and community resources. This comprehensive curriculum equips parents with valuable skills to support their child(ren) during the process of family change.

Who teaches the class?

The class is facilitated by knowledgeable Parent Educators from various professional backgrounds. These professionals include lawyers, college professors, social workers, and mental health experts. During the class, attendees have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions with the presenters during breaks and for a limited time after the session.

Why is this class important?

The ability of parents to cooperate during and after a divorce or separation directly impacts the well-being of their children. By acting in their children’s best interests and shielding them from adult conflicts, parents can help their children adjust and thrive in school, their community, and personal relationships. This class equips parents with the necessary skills to ensure a successful transition for their child(ren) during this challenging time.

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Who is required to take this class?

The “Helping Your Children Cope with Family Change” class is mandatory for individuals involved in family law cases that determine the custody of a child under 18 years old. This includes cases related to annulment, divorce (dissolution), legal separation, custody or parenting time, and post-judgment modifications involving custody or parenting time. Please refer to ORS 3.425 and SLR 8.015 for more detailed information. It’s important to note that only a judge can excuse individuals from this requirement.

Class Length, Size, Cost, and Locations

How long is the class?

The class lasts for approximately 3.5 hours. To receive a Certificate of Attendance, it is necessary to attend the entire duration of the class.

How much does it cost?

The registration fee for the class is $70 per person. You can find more information about fees on the Thumbuddy To Love website here.

How many people will be attending the class?

On average, classes consist of around 40 participants.

When are the classes held?

The in-person class is offered in English six times each month. To obtain the schedule and learn about the next available dates, please contact Thumbuddy To Love directly at 503-988-3037. For safety reasons, specific class dates are not published.

What if I cannot attend the class on the scheduled day?

If you are unable to attend the class on the day you initially scheduled, you can reschedule without any additional charges by contacting Family Court Services at least 24 hours in advance. You are allowed two free reschedules. However, if you fail to notify Family Court Services within the required timeframe or do not attend the class without prior notification, a reschedule fee of $70 will be charged.

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Do I need to bring anything?

No, you do not need to bring anything specific to the class. However, it may be a good idea to bring a snack, as the break time may not be long enough to leave the premises and purchase food.

What if I arrive late?

If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, you will not be admitted to the class and will be required to pay a fee to reschedule.

Can I attend an online parenting class instead?

No, online parenting classes found outside of Thumbuddy To Love will not fulfill the parent education requirement. While there are various online options available, please note that Multnomah County Court does not accept certificates from alternative classes. However, Thumbuddy To Love does offer an online class in certain circumstances. To register for the online class, you must go through the Family Court Services.

Registering for Class

How do I register for the class?

You can register for the parenting class either in person, online, or by phone. Detailed registration information can be found on the Thumbuddy To Love website here.

What if I cannot afford the registration fee?

Thumbuddy To Love offers fee waivers based on low income. To determine your eligibility for a fee waiver, please refer to the information provided on their website.

Meeting Court Requirements

Do I need to pass a test to get credit for the class?

No, there is no test for the in-person class. Attendance and participation are sufficient to fulfill the parenting education requirement.

How will the Court know that I attended the class?

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Once you attend the class, Family Court Services will file your Certificate of Attendance with the Court on the next business day if you have an ongoing family law case. The Certificate of Attendance serves as proof that you have fulfilled the parent education requirement and will become part of the Court’s official record in your case. You will also receive a copy of the certificate before leaving the class. Note that it may take up to two weeks for the Court Clerk to process the certificate, so if you have a court date within two weeks of attending the class, it’s advisable to bring the copy of the certificate with you.

If you do not have an open domestic relations case with the Multnomah County Court at the time of attending the class, it is your responsibility to submit the Certificate of Attendance to the Court when you file your case.

Can I take the class before filing a case with the Court?

Yes, you can take the class before opening a court case. If you decide to take the class before initiating legal proceedings, Thumbuddy To Love will provide you with two copies of your Certificate of Attendance at the end of the class. You must submit one copy to the Court when you file your case. It’s important to note that failure to provide the Court with the Certificate may result in significant delays in your proceedings.

What if I lose my Certificate?

If you misplace your Certificate of Attendance, you can request a new copy from Family Court Services.

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What if I have multiple cases?

You can use the same Certificate of Attendance in multiple cases. However, please be aware that the certificate remains valid for five years. If it has been longer than five years since you attended the class, you will need to retake it.

Safety Concerns

What if there is a restraining order in place?

If a restraining order has been issued between the parties involved within the past 12 months, attending the same class is not permitted. Family Court Services ensures that no information regarding the attendance of the other party is disclosed to either individual.

Will I be safe during the class?

Thumbuddy To Love takes safety seriously and makes every effort to ensure the well-being of all participants. All classes are held in secure facilities, and all attendees are required to go through a metal detector. Weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited. An unarmed officer from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Facility Security Unit is assigned to each class to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance.

Can I attend the class with the other party and/or my children?

While it is not mandatory for parties in the case to attend the class together, it is possible to attend as a group unless specific safety concerns or restraining orders exist. Thumbuddy To Love allows individuals to register and pay for both parties simultaneously if no safety issues are present. However, scheduling or payment for the other party is not obligatory.

It is recommended to inform the scheduler if you prefer not to be in the same class as the other individual, even if there are no safety concerns. Many people choose to take the class separately, even if they have an amicable relationship with the other party.

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Children are not allowed to attend the class, and childcare services are not available. However, on Friday mornings at the Multnomah County Courthouse, VOA Court Care provides free childcare for children aged 6 weeks to 10 years old in Room 214. It is advisable to make a reservation by calling Court Care at 503-988-4334 a few days before your class.

Non-English Language Class Options

Can I attend the class in Spanish?

Yes, Thumbuddy To Love offers classes in Spanish. For more information about Spanish language options, please visit their website.

What if I speak a language other than English or Spanish?

Thumbuddy To Love provides interpreters for languages other than English and Spanish at no additional cost. You can find more information about non-English language options on their website.

Circumstances Requiring a Re-Take of the Parenting Education Class

I want to modify custody/parenting time, or the other party wants to modify. Do I have to retake the class?

If you have taken the class within the past five years, you do not need to retake it for a modification. However, if it has been more than five years since you completed the class, you will be required to take the class again. The fee for retaking the class for the same case is $55.

By attending parenting classes, parents gain valuable knowledge and skills that significantly contribute to the well-being and successful adjustment of their children during times of family change. Thumbuddy To Love is committed to providing comprehensive and accessible resources to support families in navigating these challenging circumstances. Register for a parenting class today to ensure a positive future for your loved ones.

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