Parental Rights & Obligations Article


Parent Education Classes

Parent Education Classes

On April 18, 1996, the Governor of Arizona approved a law to establish Domestic Relations Education on Children's Issues Programs throughout the state. This law (Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-351 et seq.) requires every parent of a natural or adopted un-emancipated minor child who files for divorce, separation, parenting time/custody, or any paternity proceeding in which a party has requested that the Superior Court determine custody, specific parenting time or child support to attend a Parent Education class. The Court may order attendance when parents are involved in a child support case or seek to change an order for custody or parenting time. This booklet answers commonly asked questions about the class.

NOTE: This article is intended to provide general information about Parent Education classes in Arizona. It is not a complete nor authoritative review of this subject and reflects the law of the State of Arizona only as of the date of its publication.

What is a Parent Education Class?

The class (called the Parent Information Program in some counties) has been designed for the purpose of sharing information with parents about the impact that divorce, the restructuring of families and the court's involvement in your case can have on your child. The class provides parents with an opportunity to explore the following topics:

  • What parents can do to help their child adjust to the divorce or separation
  • Emotional effects of divorce or separation on parents and their child
  • Harmful effects of parental conflict on children, including domestic violence
  • Ways parents can reduce parental conflict
  • Avoiding and dealing with problems
  • Factors that contribute to a child's healthy adjustment, including the value of parenting plans
  • Domestic relations court procedures and available community resources
  • Common reactions by children and parents to divorce or other legal proceedings between the parents such as paternity
  • Helpful and harmful parent behaviors
  • Communication and co-parenting skills
  • Children's reactions to divorce and separation at different stages
  • Warning signs of children having serious problems
  • Emotional and financial responsibility of parents

The Court requires people to attend a Parent Education class because:

The period of divorce or separation is often a very difficult time for children as well as parents. Studies conducted by nationally renown researchers indicate that parents who attend a Parent Education class are better able to work cooperatively for the benefit of their children, and that such classes may keep them from having to return to court in the future. Both parents and courts around the country report Parent Education classes are helpful and appear to be of great benefit to children and parents.

How do I show the Court that I have taken the class?

In most counties, the instructor of the class will have forms that verify your attendance available for you to return to the Clerk of Superior Court for filing in your county. In a few counties, the instructor forwards the forms to the Clerk of Superior Court directly. Check with your individual instructor about the method that is used by your county. The form must contain your court case number, your date(s) of attendance, your name and the name, address and telephone number of the instructor.

Helpful Tips for Parents

Children whose parents are separating or who are already divorced must make a big adjustment. They need lots of special attention. The good news is that it is possible to protect, love, and nurture your child even though you are no longer together with the other parent! Here are a few tips to help you identify your child's particular needs. With a little extra "know how," you can personally help your child succeed now and after your separation or divorce. 

  • Listen To Your Child - Your child's statements are important. Children's feelings of fear, confusion and anger during the separation or divorce are often reflected in their statements. 
  • Talk To Your Child - Your child may not understand that the separation or divorce was not his or her fault. In fact, some children blame themselves for the problems that parents experience with each other. Help your child understand that the Helpful Tips For Parents divorce or separation is not their fault, and that your child is not being "divorced" by the parents.
  • Be There To Comfort - There will be times when your child will display behavior that may appear disruptive. Remember that your children will need to know they are loved, they will be cared for, and that both parents will still be their mom and dad.
  • Protect Your Child From Disagreements - If you include your child in conversations or disagreements about the other parent, your child will become insecure and uncomfortable around you. Children should never be placed in the middle of a disagreement between parents or made into messengers, or overhear you making derogatory remarks about the other parent.
  • Praise Your Child - Praising your child will help them grow up feeling very good about themselves. When children feel good about themselves, it is easier to understand that although their parents are no longer together, both parents still love them.
  • Have Fun With Your Child - Your child needs to spend quality time with you regardless of how difficult your divorce or separation may be. Having fun allows parents and children to feel good about their relationship.

© 2003 Arizona Supreme Court


Comments:

On 4/25/09
Cindy said
I attended this class when I got my divorce. Its a very informative class and a big eye opener on how, as a parent to act in the best interest of your child(ren) and provides resources in your community you can go to for help.

On 7/27/07
rochelle said
Its hard to let the children know that both parents are there for them when one has abandonded them 100%!The parenting class does not help you to deal with those issues! It's all based on what a good parent already knows!It's 40 bucks for who?

On 10/4/06
debbie said
what type of class is this, how many hours, what does it cover? WHat if teh parent has not seeh the child for over4 years, has drug and gun charges and refuses to obey court orders?

QUESTIONS

  • Hello in a divorce decree where both parents have legal decision-making if a child needs mental health treatment or counseling and the father continues to refuse to sign off on a consent or refuses to allow the child to receive any treatment, can a judge intervene and file an emergency order without the fathers consent so the daughter can receive the needed treatment.
  • my son's father wants him to visit him in texas, my son is 3 and has maybe seen his father maybe 10 times in his lifetime if i let my son go to texas for a visit and he wont let him come back what can i do?
  • MY HUSBANDS EX WIFE WAS ARRESTED FOR CHILD ABUSE AND HIS DAUGHTER WAS SENT TO A NON RELATIVE FROM CPS WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET HER HOME WITH US WITH HER FATHER?
  • Does the class have to be court ordered? If not how can I take the class. My significant other and I have split recently after 9 years and we have a 6 year old daughter.
  • I am pregnant and not in a relationship with the father. He wanted me to get an abortion and I refused. He has provided no assistance or support and now that I am about to deliver he says he has a change of heart and is making unreasonable demands. What are my rights and how can I protect my child?
  • My daughter's father has abandoned her for the last 6 years. Can I file for termination of parental rights and how do I do so.
  • My son friend 14 year old kid is homeless and staying in different friends home every day..his mom has never contacted any adults and the kid doesn't know where she is at ..what can I do to get this kid help
  • is a custodial parent required by law to notify the non custodial parent of an address change, whether its in the divorce decree/custody agreement or not?
  • Can the father of our child bar his sister (our child's Aunt) from visiting if I agree to allow the visits? She has been in our child's life since birth and would often babysit.
  • I share joint custody of our 10 year old with my exhusband (I am primary), am I able to modify our visitation agreement if has not taken our son to school (called him in absent) for the last 5 Fridays in a row without my knowledge or consent?

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OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

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