There is already quite a bit to learn for most parents who are going through a divorce. Adding a mandatory class might seem excessive.
In fact, the New Jersey Parents’ Education Program is often a useful resource. It condenses many of the most important, most currently relevant issues into a few class sessions.
The mandatory program in the law
The law that establishes the Parents’ Education Program has a few different sections. Variously, they do the following:
- Mandate a fund to manage the program
- Set up rules and exceptions regarding attendance
- Outline the curriculum
- Establish confidentiality of all program-related communication
Judges order nearly all divorcing parents to take these classes. Very few qualify for exceptions. Additionally, due to the confidentiality, parents are free to learn without worrying about their preconceptions or general lack of knowledge harming their prospects during the child custody portion of their divorce cases.
The program contents focus mostly on parental responsibilities during and after divorce. There is also a good amount of information about the potential cost of the divorce process. Classes also talk about how to navigate relationships during this stressful time of change.
Overall, these classes share information about how children react to the divorce process. They also help set expectations for parents. However, they do not typically provide information about how to navigate custody disputes or other things that would be specific to a divorce case.
Even though these classes typically take place at the courthouse, they are not a material part of a divorce case. Judges could, however, consider a parent’s failure to attend the mandatory program when making decisions about parenting time and responsibilities.