The divorce and child custody process always requires one to navigate two important policy concerns:
1) We don’t want people to have to jump through unnecessary hoops to get divorced.
2) Most people need help in working together to co-parent.
There’s no clear answer to this conundrum, but the legislature’s answer is at at least workable: Ark. Code Ann. § 9-12-322, which allows courts to require parents to attend parenting classes or mediation before getting divorced. Whether it’s a good idea or not is a worthy debate, but it’s not necessarily worthy of a blog post. Instead, this post is designed to help you (whoever you may be, reader) to navigate Pulaski County’s standard requirement that one attend the “transparenting seminar” (or transparenting class).
The standard Order for Transparenting Seminar in Pulaski County has the following language:
The parties in the above matter are hereby ordered to complete the TransParenting class at Family Service Agency, 628 Broadway, Suite 300, North Little Rock, Arkansas, 72114, telephone number (501) 372-4242, prior to the entry of a Decree of Divorce in this case. The TransParenting course is an educational program designed to teach effective parenting during the transitions of divorce or parental separation. The cost for the four (4) hour educational seminar is $50.00, by Cash or Money Order, for each litigant and will be collected by Family Service Agency.
I have been told by other lawyers that you cannot waive the Transparenting Class, although I have also spoken to those in the know who simply suggested I submit an Order and could expect to have the requirement waived. As with most family law issues in Arkansas courts, I suppose it depends on the judge. If it was important that someone get out out of the Transparenting Class, I would try it.
More importantly, I think, one need not blindly follow the guidelines set forth above. Instead of actually having to attend an in-person Transparenting Class and pay $50 cash, one can simply go to ParentClassOnline and take the Transparenting Class online. And they accept credit cards for those of us who never even have enough cash to even pay for parking (Or to avoid splitting an infinitive).