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Parenting Classes Are Just for Those in a Custody Battle… Right?

Many people believe that parenting classes are just for those who are going through a custody battle. They are mistaken. Parenting classes can help all families navigate the many situations that come up as part of raising a child. 

The North Dakota and Minnesota District Court requires all parents that are going through a divorce take a parent education class. The most common being Parents Forever.

Parents Forever is a research-based course specifically designed by the University of Minnesota Extension. Parents Forever was created to help parents navigate parenting during and after a divorce. The course is offered in two different lengths: 8-hours and 4-hours. The 8-hour course has been approved by the Minnesota Supreme Court, and the 4-hour course is offered in connection with North Dakota University Extension Service and the University of Wisconsin Extension. 

Parents in North Dakota and Minnesota divorces with children are required to take the 4-hour course. The Court will send out an Order, commonly known as an Order of Assignment, that lays out this requirement. Although divorcing parents are required to take the course, it isn’t always required in custody and paternity cases in North Dakota and Minnesota. However, it is often agreed upon by the parties that they will participate in this course as a part of their custody agreement. The 4-hour course is offered for $69.00 with the option to get a reduced fee for those who qualify. The registration fee includes access to an online version of the parent handbook. 

The 8-hour course goes above and beyond the Minnesota and North Dakota requirements set by the Court system. This version of Parents Forever and the online handbook comes with an $89.00 price tag. Reduced fees can be applied to people who qualify. 

Parents Forever isn’t only for divorcing parents but also parents who are considering a separation/divorce, parents who have been divorced for a while but are experiencing new struggles, and parents who have never been married but want to improve their co-parenting abilities. Parents Forever focuses on the children and how the separation of their parents makes them feel. It gives divorcing parents the tools to protect their children from adult problems. 

People tend to ask, “Why should I take this course if the other parent is the problem, not me?” The answer is simple: to help and protect your children. This program will teach BOTH parents how their actions directly and indirectly affect their children. It gives the parents a window into the children’s view of the breakdown of their parent’s relationship. Parents Forever also gives parents the tools to take care of themselves by teaching them how to cope with their stress as the conflict with the other parent grows. 

In summary, Parents Forever teaches basic strategies for co-parenting that, if followed, will limit the stress and conflict your children feel and improve your relationship with the other parent, who you will be parenting with forever.   

Parents Forever is offered through our local extension office and many others throughout the state.  It is typically offered both online and in-person. Make sure you check with your local extension office to ensure in-person classes are being offered. You can find dates, locations, and registration forms by contacting your local extension office. The Cass County Extension Office can be reached at 701-241-5700 or


Michael L. Gjesdahl

Mike founded Gjesdahl Law, P.C. in 1989. His practice is exclusively devoted to families, their transitions, their needs. Throughout his career, he has confronted every imagin…
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