FAQ: Parenting Class in Uncontested Divorce

Don’t be fooled – having kids won’t stop you from getting an uncontested divorce in Illinois. In fact, an affordable and fast divorce can be even more important if you have kids. But did you know that you probably will have to take a parenting class if your kids are under 18?

You might want to check out this FAQ on taking a parenting class during an uncontested divorce in Illinois.

Why do I need a parenting class?

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you asked your parents why you had to do something they told you to do? More than once, you might have heard the explanation “Because I told you to.”

So when you ask why you need a parenting class, the explanation is similar. Long story short, you have to take a parenting class because the Supreme Court of Illinois says you have to do so.

Paragraph “b” of Supreme Court Rule 924 states that, except when excused by the court for “good cause shown,” all parties shall be required to attend and complete an approved parenting education program as soon as possible.”

How can I get excused from the parenting class?

You might have noticed that the rule quoted above says that you need to attend the parenting class unless “excused by the court for “good cause shown.”

So that mean you can get out of the class, right?

Not really. And here are the reasons:

  1. The Judge: Judges are not likely to let people out of taking the class. They don’t have to let you out of it. And what constitutes “good cause” is up to the judge.
  2. The cost: If you are getting an uncontested divorce in Illinois, then you want it to be fast, and affordable. However, trying to get out of the parenting class requirement will make your divorce cost more, and take longer. That’s because getting out of the parenting class requires filing documents with the court, and appearing in court. And even if you do that, you still might lose because the judge will probably deny you anyway.

Does the other parent need to attend?

An uncontested divorce – the fastest and most affordable way to get divorced in Illinois – both spouses need to be in agreement on all terms. And both spouses need to participate in the divorce, sign all necessary documents, and attend a parenting class (if they have kids).

Long story short, don’t be fooled by some language in Supreme Court Rule 924 seems to detail how your spouse can get out of taking the class. It states that “In the case of a default or lack of jurisdiction over the respondent, only the petitioning party is required to attend but if the respondent later enters an appearance or participates in post-judgment proceedings, then the party who has not attended the program shall attend.”

An uncontested divorce is not a case by “default.” A party is held in default when they don’t participate in the case (and an uncontested divorce requires participation). Further, an uncontested divorce requires the other party (the respondent) to file an “appearance” wherein the other party agrees that the court has jurisdiction.

What parenting class should I take

Supreme Court Rule 924 states that each county “shall create or approve a parenting education program consisting of at least four hours covering the subjects of visitation parenting time and custody allocation of parental responsibilities and their impact on children.”

Most counties have their own parenting classes. If you go to the wrong class, the judge might not accept it.

So in Cook County, you will need to take the Cook County parenting class. In Lake County, you will need to take the Lake County parenting class. And so forth.

Some counties allow the class to be taken online. Others require you to take an in-person class.

How do I get started?

When you hire use to help you with your fast and affordable uncontested divorce in Illinois, we guide you through the complete process. So whatever county you are in, we tell you what class to take, and how to take it (online, or in person).

Generally speaking, it is best to get started with your parenting class sooner rather than later. You wouldn’t want lack of a parenting class to hold up your divorce, right?