In Pierce County, like many other jurisdictions in the United States, courts are paying more attention to the effect that changes in a family structure have on children. Much research has recently pointed out the importance of both parents remaining actively involved in a child’s life. Though there is no way to protect your kids from everything, children who keep a strong bond with their mother and father even after a divorce or separation have a lower risk of dropping out of school, develop better social skills and even show fewer warning signs for mental health disorders when compared to children in single-parent families. 

Of course, all parents want the best for their children, but that does not mean that you and your former spouse will magically work together seamlessly. Every couple that shares joint custody needs to work through new skills that your previous parenting experience may not have required. 

For this reason, Pierce County courts mandate that any parties involved in a family law case that results in a new parenting plan for minor children attend an Impact on Children seminar. 

What information does the seminar cover?  

The Impact on Children seminar is a four-hour seminar that goes through: 

  • Child growth and development 
  • Skills for building a strong relationship with your child 
  • Parental communication and conflict resolution skills 
  • Practical advice for introducing step relatives 
  • Recognizing stress in children and reducing stress where possible 

The instructors for each seminar must have at least a master’s level of knowledge of children’s mental health and social work topics. 

Do you have to attend the seminar with your former spouse? 

Pierce County does not require that couples attend the class together. Indeed, they encourage opposing parties to attend separate seminars. 

Can you attend a seminar in another county or state? 

In some cases, the court may approve a seminar other than the one provided in Pierce County. This is only done on a case by case basis, so be sure to check with your legal counsel before assuming a certain class will fulfill this requirement.