Until recently, I relied upon my clients to provide feedback on the Families in Transition program which many Family Courts require when a divorce involves children. In general, clients would say that the course covered things that they already knew or that was basic common sense. Recently, I attended the program just like my clients under court order, and my experience was quite different.
As a lawyer who deals in divorce and family law issues, I came to the table with more experience regarding the issues to be covered than most people and I found the class to be worthwhile. I think I can explain the reason why so many people report a different experience and the reason is a cliche: you get out of the class what you put into the class.
When I walked into the room, it felt like walking onto an elevator because everyone was trying their best not to make eye contact or to speak with anyone. While I cannot speak for the other attendees, I can tell you that I felt a mixture of embarrassment and shame, because, after all, I was there because I had failed.
I was unable to keep my marriage together and the court ordered me to attend a class so I went but I did not have to compound my humiliation. As Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” While my plan was well conceived, I simply could not sit passively in a class – it is not my style.
I have never met a stranger and I ask people about their day when I get into an elevator, so I engaged. After all, Mark Twain also said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do.” There was another person in the class that was also outgoing and, it is fair to say, quite funny, so the entire experience ended up being fulfilling and enjoyable.
There were people in the class with a wide variety of backgrounds but we all shared a common experience and common concerns, mostly for our children, and that variety of experience meant that some people knew of resources that others needed but did not know how to find. If it is possible for you to walk into the class leaving your fears at the door, then I believe you might just find that the class offers some valuable information and a valuable opportunity to learn from others.
The way the program is setup, there are parent only classes and parent with child(ren) classes but you cannot attend the same classes as your spouse (or soon to be ex spouse). The parent and the child(ren) do not stay together so the parent who takes the child(ren) receives the same education as a parent who does not take the child(ren). In my case, I went to the parent only class because we thought it made sense for the children to go together as they need reassurance too. My soon to be ex-wife wanted to take them, the classes were scheduled on her nights with the children, so she took them.
Our children report that they enjoyed the class and they looked forward to the sessions. I believe the children learned quite a bit and they seemed less stressed after attending, and I know they learned a thing or two. For example, my grandmother asked if they knew what divorce was while we were on the way to dinner with the kids, I said I thought they did but there is nothing like hearing it directly so I asked them if anyone could define divorce. In unison they responded, ‘divorce is all about adult issues and not about me.’ I had to admit, they had it right and they learned that at FIT.
In Jefferson County, the cost is $75 per parent and there is no fee for the child(ren). The fee must be paid in cash and is paid at the first session. You must complete the sessions at the site you select and failure to complete the courses means you have to start all over and pay another fee.
You will receive a court order to attend which outlines the process. Service members who are stationed over seas may ask the court to be excused from the requirement or may ask the court to allow you to take the course online. Online courses generally require pre-approval by the court and are only available to people who cannot physically attend classes. Most military posts offer the course. If you live outside the jurisdiction, then you can seek pre-approval from the court to allow you to take the approved courses in your jurisdiction as a substitute.
You begin the process in …
- Jefferson County
- Call (502) 595-3618.
- Children are required to attend if they are ages 5-18.
- Bullitt County
- Calling (502) 538-6109.
- Children are required to attend if they are ages 5-17.
Once you complete the course and receive your certificate, then it needs to be filed with the court and notice served to the other party. You can do it if you do not have an attorney or you can get the certificate to your attorney so s/he can provide the proper notice of your completion of the FIT requirement.
Information on the program can be found at FIT Information. If you want to see the Jefferson County, Kentucky, schedule for Families in Transition (FIT) classes, then goto Jefferson County FIT Schedule.
ZKVVHDX7KT33If you are in Kentucky, then I’d recommend that you call my office at 502-587-1950 or 502-509-1490 to schedule a consultation if you have an agreement, parenting schedule or court order to discuss your options.