R.S. §9:306 Seminar for Divorcing Parents

§9:306.  Seminar for divorcing parents

A. Upon an affirmative showing that the facts and circumstances of the particular case before the court warrant such an order, a court exercising jurisdiction over family matters may require the parties in a custody or visitation proceeding to attend and complete a court-approved seminar designed to educate and inform the parties of the needs of the children.

B. If the court chooses to require participation in such a seminar, it shall adopt rules to accomplish the goals of Subsection A of this Section, which rules shall include but not be limited to the following:

(1) Criteria for evaluating a seminar provider and its instructors.

(2) Criteria to assure selected programs provide and incorporate into the provider’s fee structure the cost of services to indigents.

(3) The amount of time a participant must take part in the program, which shall be a minimum of three hours but not exceed four hours nor shall the costs exceed twenty-five dollars per person.

(4) The time within which a party must complete the program.

C. For purposes of this Section, “instructor” means any psychiatrist, psychologist, professional counselor, social worker licensed under state law, or in any parish other than Orleans, means a person working with a court-approved, nonprofit program of an accredited university created for educating divorcing parents with children.  All instructors must have received advanced training in instructing co-parenting or similar seminars.

D. The seminar shall focus on the developmental needs of children, with emphasis on fostering the child’s emotional health.  The seminar shall be informative and supportive and shall direct people desiring additional information or help to appropriate resources.  The course content shall contain but not be limited to the following subjects:

(1) The developmental stages of childhood, the needs of children at different ages, and age appropriate expectations of children.

(2) Stress indicators in children adjusting to divorce, the grief process, and avoiding delinquency.

(3) The possible enduring emotional effects of divorce on the child.

(4) Changing parental and marital roles.

(5) Recommendations with respect to visitation designed to enhance the child’s relationship with both parents.

(6) Financial obligations of child rearing.

(7) Conflict management and dispute resolution.

E. Nonviolent acts or communications made during the seminar, which are otherwise relevant to the subject matter of a divorce, custody, or visitation proceeding, are confidential, not subject to disclosure, and may not be used as evidence in favor of or against a participant in the pending proceeding.  This rule does not require the exclusion of any evidence otherwise discoverable merely because it is presented or otherwise made during the seminar.

Acts 1995, No. 766, §1, eff. July 1, 1995; Acts 1999, No. 276, §1.

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