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Is a parenting seminar required in Georgia family law?

One of the most contested parts of a family law case in Georgia will usually involve children. Both parents are often interested in maintaining relationships with their kids and ensuring their well-being, and many times the parties have different ideas of how to do this. The state and the county court systems in which these cases play out have an interest in both protecting children's best interest and as well as a smooth-running judicial system, so some localities require that parents learn about how to deal with each other and their kids in such situations.

In Hall County, where Gainesville is located, the Northeastern Judicial Circuit publishes standing rules that are used in all family law cases filed within its jurisdiction. Among these rules is the requirement that parents who are involved in a divorce, a legitimation case or a change of custody or visitation case without a written agreement, go to a sanctioned parenting seminar. The plaintiff, or the person filing the case, must attend this seminar within 31 days of filing the action, and the defendant within 31 days of being served with the lawsuit.

The parents involved in the lawsuit will have to complete the entire seminar and file written verification of completion of the seminar with the clerk of court, and retain the certificates of attendance given to them to show the court at their hearing. Other courses than the ones pre-approved by the court can be substituted, but will need to be approved by the judge. Parties can request a waiver of attendance for good cause within 10 days of filing or service. If an individual does not attend the course as required, the court may hold that person in contempt.

While it may seem strange to some people to have to take such a course, especially during a divorce after parents have had their children for some years already, it is important to realize that dealing with the stresses of a family split with children can lead to poor outcomes for the kids. Anyone with questions about what they need to do to comply with a court's standing rules may need to get more information about family law issues.

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