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Betterdate makes non-required FAPI date fields work as expected.
In Drupal core versions 4, 5, and 6, FAPI 'date' form fields cannot distinguish between required and non-required fields. In both cases, a user must enter a date, even if the field has been designated not required.
This module silently finds all date fields, and modifies the non-required fields to have null options (represented by "--"), and default forms to these null options.