Parents Forever Program
When a family goes through divorce or separation, parents need to help their children adjust to the changes in their family. Our educational programs teach parents about the impact of divorce/ separation and gives them strategies to help both parents and children adjust to a new way of being a family.
Parents Forever is an educational program developed by the University of Minnesota Extension, based on research about the effects of divorce on children.
Minnesota Statute 518.157 requires judges to court order parents with contested custody and visitation issues into an approved parent education program. Parents Forever is an approved program, meeting all 25 minimum standards set by the statute.
What does the research say about divorce?
Research shows that less than 50% of children can expect to live with their biological parents throughout their childhood. Children who experience family disruption often:
- Live with parental conflict before, during, and after the divorce.
- Experience the absence of the non-custodial parent.
- Are more likely to be poor.
- Are more likely to have other issues like:
- Emotional problems.
- Conceive a child in their teens.
- Get in trouble with the law.
- Have lower academic achievement.
The effects of divorce on children can be reduced if parents:
- Avoid putting children in situations where their loyalty to the other parent is threatened.
- Learn new and more effective approaches to parenting.
- Adjust to the role of single parenting, maintain close ties, and remain available to the children.
- Create a business-like plan to parent that is focused on the needs of the children.
- Learn to communicate with the other parents about issues related to the children.
- Learn how to make the necessary joint decisions with a minimum amount of conflict.
How does Parents Forever help minimize the effects of divorce?
When parents attend the complete Parents Forever class series, they learn valuable skills and tools that will help reduce the effects of divorce on children and themselves. They will learn how to:
- Eliminate parental conflict in front of the child.
- Keep the child out of the middle of parent issues.
- Provide access to both parents
- Put the best interest of the child first.
- Make adjustments in their finances to account for the financial changes that divorce brings.
- Work with the divorce legal process rather than against it.
- Form a new "pathway" in life after divorce.
The program we provide uses the Parents Forever base curriculum. However, Our Parents Forever Class is different from other classes. The focus is not on "do's and don'ts of co-parenting. The focus is on empowerment and application of materials and resources that apply communication principles. We will provide you with ideas on parenting schedules; we will teach you how to build a flexibility plan; we will teach you how to build continuity between the homes and provide you resources to communicate. We will show you how to use a working calendar and we will review language of a formal parenting plan with you. We will teach you about the effect of emotions on decision making and we will teach you ways to manage the most difficult emotions. We will teach you how to build a better co-parenting relationship. If you have a high level of cooperation with the other parent, we will teach you ways to maintain that high level.
Parental conflict is the most detrimental factor for children of divorce. In 18-25% of cases, the nonprimary parent loses connection with their children inside a period of one to three years, because conflict between parents reaches such a high level one parent withdraws. While 75-85% of children adjust well to their changing family structure, 20-25% are deeply affected by the divorce of their parents well into adulthood. How well children adjust has a direct correlation to the degree and length of parental conflict during and after the separation or divorce. Children are deeply affected when one parent withdraws, and is as deeply affected when caught in the middle of parental arguments.
Our Parents Forever is unique. Our goal is to help parents succeed in building two peaceful home environments for their children; that children are able to have relationship and that both parents are able to be actively involved in their lives unless there are safety concerns; and that parents succeed in providing a united parental force and appropriate monitoring so children remain safe and secure. We do this through education and resources that not only teach co-parenting principles, but provide parents the resources to apply them.
Co-parenting is a journey that truly does not end at age 18; but the ability to work together now for the sake of your children protects your generations to come! Learning to respectfully communicate and resolve conflict when it happens are two of the most prevalent challenges parents face. With some effort and resources and education, it might not be as difficult as one may think to build a solid co-parenting relationship without a love relationship.
Online Class: Please view the video below to see how the online class is conducted. The class we provide today is revised. It involves one lecture and completion of written materials. While the video is outdated, it answers many questions a participant may have in how our online class works.
The online class is in real time with a live facilitator. It is not a recording, but conducted the same as any regular classroom setting only you are taking it in your home and the facilitator is at an off site location. Along with the lecture, parents receive printed materials and resources that will be emailed to them.
The highest level of co-parenting can be reached with respectful communication between parents and the tools and resources to build communication; a good parenting time schedule that fits the needs of parents and children; a plan for flexible scheduling because no one can live their life on a rigid schedule, and a basic understanding of joint problem solving. The facilitator will provide parents with tips on safe exchanges if there is conflict between parents, scheduling ideas, and united front parenting principles. Examples of parenting plan language and building a communication notebook and working calendar will be reviewed during the class.
Parenting Plans and Mediation:
We help parents with custody and parenting time: In most cases, resolution can be reached over custody and parenting time in less than 3 hours, particularly when parents attend our education program prior to mediation.
We help people divorce with dignity. We will help people make decisions in dividing their assets and debts in a fair and equitable way. We will work with them on custody and help them put a base schedule into place. We will help them with a parenting plan and make a plan for communicating the needs of their children. We also can provide dissolution of marriage drafting services. Drafting services is not a substitute for legal counsel and legal questions must be posed to an attorney. However, many divorces can be resolved without attorneys.
We have been coaching married and unmarried parents through co-parenting challenges since 1997 through education and mediation. We have walked persons through the difficult decisions and helped them manage the emotional factors that affect decision making. We have helped hundreds of parents reach agreement on custody and parenting time scheduling and helped hundreds of parents address post-decree parenting time conflicts. We have served hundreds of people resolve asset and debt distribution with a high rate of success. We cannot guarantee resolution. However, we can tell you that education along with mediation greatly increase the likelihood of resolution with the help of a trained third-party neutral.
We suggest that parents weigh out and discuss the options available to them and discuss and agree on what process has the best chance of success at the least amount of cost. Parents have choices in how they want to proceed. For instance, an ENE process could cost as much as $1,500 for the evaluators (plus each party's attorney's costs); litigation can cost each party thousands of dollars. You may be considerably ahead in reducing litigation costs by entering a mediation process.
Another thing to consider is that mediation incorporates more active involvement of parties in the process and outcome. Mediation has more flexibility in scheduling because evening appointments are available. Also remember that you -- the people most deeply affected by the process and the outcome -- have the final say. Anything drafted during the mediation process is drafted at the time of mediation and the parties view what is put in each drafted document during the session. Parties have direct input into what is put down in writing in our mediation processes. The agreement is printed out at the end of the session and provided to each party. If entering any form of alternative dispute resolution, it is important that you enter it prepared. The educational program we provide helps parties prepare for a conflict resolution process so they have a higher rate of success in their outcomes.
(If there is a history of domestic violence or an order for protection in place, please inform us at intake. If there is an order for protection in place, it must be cleared by the judge before mediation can commence and if there is a history of domestic violence that involves physical violence, mediation may not be a good alternative.)
Carl Arnold (Arnold Law and Mediation) interview with Lois Warner (Mediation Works North) regarding Parents Forever class online. Click on image above to watch the interview.
Please see the "Who We Are" and Home Pages on website to learn about our organization and the facilitator's background. Also, please note that the Parents forever program receives some support from the Minnesota State Bar Foundation.
Payment Options: We do not accept personal checks. Credit card payment can be made through our secure payment site or by calling our office. Parents can send in a certified bank check or money order. A parent is not registered until payment is received.
Whether attending on site or on line, parents must provide an email address to access class materials and resources. Materials do not require any printing so materials should be able to be accessed at any local library or other center.
Confidentiality Notification: The same as a class that is personally attended, the online class is not completely anonymous. Because of the number of participants in each class, notification of the class link is provided to all participants in one common email. There is also an attendance box that may be viewed during the lecture. When you sign into the lecture you will use your first name and last initial. If your name is included in your email address and confidentiality is a concern, please use a different email address. If you have any requests regarding separate emailing of the class link, call the office and we will accommodate the best we can.
Refunds: Once the class materials are provided refunds cannot be provided.
Parents Forever Class Schedule - Live Facilitated Online
The worksheet is due no later than 5 days after the night of the lecture. Class registration closes at 5:00 p.m. the night before the lecture night.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 6-9 p.m.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 6-9 p.m.
Fees for 2013:
- $85 - Parents Forever class fee
- $40 - proof of in forma pauperis order or social services assistance is required
When you register below, please indicate the class date you wish to attend.The online payment option will automatically insert the $85 fee. If you need the reduced fee you can pay by credit card, but you must call the office to process it. Reduced fees must call the office to register. Payment must be received before the class link is emailed. Registration is not complete until payment is made and/or copy of in forma pauperis is received.
You can register for one of the upcoming seminars using our online registration process. Please provide: 1) the Participant's Name, 2) Phone and e-Mail Address, 3) the date of the lecture you wish to attend and confirm online or onsite. Click the "Register Now" button. You will be directed to the check-out page for credit card payment. Participant's name, phone and email must be filled out before the register button will continue. When you finish that process, you will be directed back to our site. Thank you for considering our Parents Forever program. We hope that you find the seminar to be helpful.
If you have questions or problems with the online payment site, please call our office at 218-263-7307. We can pre-register you by telephone as well. Thank you!
Last Updated (Tuesday, 14 May 2013 12:38)