Oklahoma has one of the highest divorce rates in the country, but state lawmakers hope to make life a little smoother for minor children with divorcing parents. A new Oklahoma law went into effect Nov. 1 that will require divorcing parents with minor children (under 18) to take a co-parenting class to better understand the impact of divorce on children.
“Divorce is life-changing for everyone in the family, including the children, and how the parents handle the divorce can make the experience better or worse for them,” said Ron Cox, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension marriage and family specialist.
Before Oklahoma House Bill 2249 went into effect, co-parenting classes were recommended, but not required. It was up to each court system to choose whether to make it a requirement of granting a divorce. Now, couples seeking divorce based on incompatibility must pay for and complete the educational program. The class educates parents on how divorce affects the well-being of children and teaches communication strategies for cooperative parenting. Divorcing parents in the class will also be provided with information on local resources for divorced families. Parents can attend the classes together or separately under the requirement of the law.
In Oklahoma City, the co-parenting requirement can be fulfilled at the Oklahoma County OSU Extension Center (930 N Portland).
“The reality is parents who are or who soon will be ‘ex-spouses’ still need to work together for the sake of their children. Extension’s Co-Parenting course gives parents the strategies and tools to do that successfully,” Cox said.
For more information about Co-Parenting for Resilience classes, including costs and course dates, click here.