Connecticut Court: Mandatory Parenting Course Allowed
On October 20, 2008 the Associated Press reported that the Connecticut state Supreme Court upheld a law requiring a parenting course for parents getting a divorce who have children under age 18. The court ruled that the parenting course protects the children’s interest and helps maintain family harmony during a difficult transition.
The appeal was filed by Thomas Dutkiewicz, who said that forcing parents to attend the course is like convicting a person without a trial. He said the law does not consider whether or not the person is already a good parent and violates their right to choose what is best for their children. He said that requiring the course was too automatic and inflexible.
The course was waived for Dutkiewicz and his ex-wife but he filed the appeal to protest the law. Attendance can be waived if both spouses and a judge agree.
The six hour course cost $125 and is conducted by a family service agency, a counseling program, and/or another court approved entity located in the state.
The parenting course includes information about children’s developmental states and helping children deal with parent separation. The course also focuses on cooperative parenting, conflict management, dispute resolution techniques, and stress reduction for children.