(a) In a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, including an action to modify an order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship providing for possession of or access to a child, the court may order the parties to the suit to attend a parent education and family stabilization course if the court determines that the order is in the best interest of the child.
(b) The parties to the suit may not be required to attend the course together. The court, on its own motion or the motion of either party, may prohibit the parties from taking the course together if there is a history of family violence in the marriage.
Terms Used In Texas Family Code 105.009
- Effects: includes all personal property and all interest in that property. See Texas Government Code 312.011
- in writing: includes any representation of words, letters, or figures, whether by writing, printing, or other means. See Texas Government Code 312.011
- Person: includes corporation, organization, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, and any other legal entity. See Texas Government Code 311.005
- Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
- Rule: includes regulation. See Texas Government Code 311.005
(c) A course under this section must be at least four hours, but not more than 12 hours, in length and be designed to educate and assist parents with regard to the consequences of divorce on parents and children. The course must include information on the following issues:
(1) the emotional effects of divorce on parents;
(2) the emotional and behavioral reactions to divorce by young children and adolescents;
(3) parenting issues relating to the concerns and needs of children at different development stages;
(4) stress indicators in young children and adolescents;
(5) conflict management;
(6) family stabilization through development of a coparenting relationship;
(7) the financial responsibilities of parenting;
(8) family violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse and neglect; and
(9) the availability of community services and resources.
(d) A course may not be designed to provide individual mental health therapy or individual legal advice.
(e) A course satisfies the requirements of this section if it is offered by:
(1) a mental health professional who has at least a master’s degree with a background in family therapy or parent education; or
(2) a religious practitioner who performs counseling consistent with the laws of this state or another person designated as a program counselor by a church or religious institution if the litigant so chooses.
(f) Information obtained in a course or a statement made by a participant to a suit during a course may not be considered in the adjudication of the suit or in any subsequent legal proceeding. Any report that results from participation in the course may not become a record in the suit unless the parties stipulate to the record in writing.
(g) The court may take appropriate action with regard to a party who fails to attend or complete a course ordered by the court under this section, including holding the party in contempt of court, striking pleadings, or invoking any sanction provided by Rule 215, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The failure or refusal by a party to attend or complete a course required by this section may not delay the court from rendering a judgment in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.
(h) The course required under this section may be completed by:
(1) personal instruction;
(2) videotape instruction;
(3) instruction through an electronic medium; or
(4) a combination of those methods.
(i) On completion of the course, the course provider shall issue a certificate of completion to each participant. The certificate must state:
(1) the name of the participant;
(2) the name of the course provider;
(3) the date the course was completed; and
(4) whether the course was provided by:
(A) personal instruction;
(B) videotape instruction;
(C) instruction through an electronic medium; or
(D) a combination of those methods.
(j) The county clerk in each county may establish a registry of course providers in the county and a list of locations at which courses are provided. The clerk shall include information in the registry identifying courses that are offered on a sliding fee scale or without charge.
(k) The court may not order the parties to a suit to attend a course under this section if the parties cannot afford to take the course. If the parties cannot afford to take a course, the court may direct the parties to a course that is offered on a sliding fee scale or without charge, if a course of that type is available. A party to a suit may not be required to pay more than $100 to attend a course ordered under this section.
(l) A person who has attended a course under this section may not be required to attend the course more than twice before the fifth anniversary of the date the person completes the course for the first time.