Family Law

Family Law News 2014, Issue 4, Volume 36, No. 4

New Online Parenting After Separation Course

Julia Weber

The Judicial Council of California’s website for families and children has a new, free online course available for parents going through separation or divorce. "Parenting After Separation" is a component of the Families Change website (www.familieschange.ca.gov) providing approximately three hours of content that can be accessed through www.familieschange.ca.gov or directly at www.parenting.familieschange.ca.gov. The course was developed in response to requests from courts throughout the state for an efficient way of getting parents information they need before or during a child custody matter. The content addresses the emotional aspects of separation and divorce, children’s developmental needs, and the court process. It includes a video also available separately on mandatory child custody mediation or child custody recommending counseling.

The course was originally developed by the Justice Education Society (JES), a nonprofit organization that supports the British Columbia justice system. JES and the British Columbia justice system are internationally recognized for their work to provide online public education resources concerning the court system. For California, the course was changed to reflect California law and court processes. "Parenting After Separation" is part of project that was initially rolled out last year and demonstrated at the June 28, 2013, meeting of the Judicial Council. Two online resources were launched at that meeting. The first was www.familieschange.ca.gov, which provides related websites aimed at parents, teens, and children and covers child custody and support issues. The second was www.changeville.ca.gov, a highly interactive website for children. These websites make it easier for courts to provide information to families and children about divorce and separation. These sites have been used extensively by Californians in the last year.

Work on "Parenting After Separation" continued over the last year to ensure that the law was accurate for California and that the course was close-captioned to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Various features were added at the request of courts including being able to produce a certificate for participants to demonstrate that they have taken the course and passed the provided exam. It is also possible for visitors to the site to browse various sections without signing in and taking the full course.

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