Important Information: Co- Parenting

As required by the State of Tennessee, your local Extension Service is now offering court-ordered co-parenting classes. These classes are also available for those wishing to voluntarily enhance their family relationships with their children after a divorce.

Parenting Apart: Effective Co-Parenting
An Educational Program for Divorcing Parents

Tennessee has one of the highest divorce rates in the U.S. with a rate of 8.4 per 1,000 in 2014, according to the Tennessee General Health Data: Marriage and Divorce Statistics. Being that divorce is so common, it may seem like adjustments to divorce has become easier for everyone involved. In reality, divorce is hard on all family members, especially children. With concerns of negative impacts on your children, the Tennessee State Legislature passed a law requiring divorcing parents of minor children to attend a parenting education program.

The University of Tennessee Extension has developed a four-hour program to help divorcing parents learn how to help their children cope with the issues that arise during a parent’s divorce. The following topics are covered in the program:

  • Facts about Divorce
  • Dealing with Stress
  • How children react to Divorce
  • Positive Communication Skills
  • Helping Children get through a Divorce
  • Keeping Children out of the middle of Conflicts
  • The Family After the Divorce
  • Processes of Divorce and Mediation
  • Domestic Violence and Divorce

Classes include group discussion, the viewing of videos and lecture. Each participant will receive a booklet and a list of local resources. Classes are taught by the Extension Family and Consumer Science (FCS) agent, Beverly Shelby. Ms. Shelby has both a Bachelor’s of Science in Home Economics and Master’s of Science as well as training in issues related to children and families.


The cost of the program is $40 per person if paid in advance and $50 if paid at the door the day of the class. Participants must register in advance to be sure of a place in the class. There will be no fee for the class if you have an order to no-fee parent education; this must be obtained from the judge. The classes will only be offered once a month and in a four hour session. Participants may attend at the location of their choice no matter where the divorce is filed. Divorcing spouses or former spouses contesting child custody, support or visitation will not be able to register for the same class. 

Do not bring your children to the class. Child care is not provided and the subject matter is not intended for children.

Classes begin on time and participants will not be allowed to attend if they arrive after the starting time. A certificate will be given to all who complete the course. To get credit for taking the course, please list your civil court and docket number if you have one, on the registration form.

For more information, call the Weakley County Extension Office at (731) 364-3164.