Always a top priority at the Law Offices of Edward R. Weinstein is protecting the best interests of children. Therefore, I am a huge proponent of New Jersey’s Parent’s Education Act. This program is to educate divorcing parents how to best protect and parent their children during this time of family crisis. Parents are reminded to put their children first and to enhance their sensitivity towards their children’s needs during this difficult time. Further, parents learn the most effective way to handle their children’s emotions, as well as there own. I am proud that the State of New Jersey has made this program mandatory. Following, please learn more about the history and more details about this essential process.
In 1999, New Jersey adopted the Parents’ Education Act. The Act mandated that a new and distinct revolving fund, the Parents’ Education Fund, be created under the more General Fund. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-12.2, the Clerk of the Superior Court would be responsible for forwarding a required $25 registration fee for deposit into this newly formed fund. The fund was to be administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Furthermore, the Parents’ Education Fund was to be primarily devoted to the creation and furtherance of the Parent’s Education Program, a newly created program as well.
The Parents’ Education Program is an education program that divorcing parents are required to take part in. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A: 34-12.5, the court will order every person who has filed an action for divorce, nullity or separate maintenance where the custody, visitation or support of the minor child is an issue to attend the Parents’ Education Program. Moreover, it is also mandated by statute that all parties who have filed an action for divorce, nullity or separate maintenance where the custody, visitation or support of the minor is an issue are required to complete the Parents’ Education Program before entry of judgment for their particular case. If either of the parties fails to participate in the program, the court will consider that failure in making custody and visitation determinations.
Additionally, the program is driven toward assisting and counseling divorced parents on issues related to divorce, separation, child custody disputes, and alimony battles. A government appointed advisory committee each year develops a curriculum and guidelines to be followed in the Parents’ Education Program, mainly so that the curriculum stays fresh and is updated to follow the constantly evolving issues.
Furthermore, as laid out in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-12.3, the mandatory Parents’ Education Program has many unique goals and purposes. Pursuant to the statute, the purpose of the program is to promote cooperation between the parties and to assist parents in resolving issues, which may arise during the divorce or separation process, including, but not limited to:
(1) Understanding the legal process and cost of divorce or separation, including arbitration and mediation;
(2) Understanding the financial responsibilities for the children;
(3) Understanding the interaction between parent and child, the family relationship and any other areas of adjustment and concern during the process of divorce or separation;
(4) Understanding how children react to divorce or separation, how to spot problems, what to tell them about divorce or separation, how to keep communication open and how to answer questions and concerns the children may have about the process;
(5) Understanding how parents can help their children during the divorce or separation, specific strategies, ideas, tools and resources for assistance;
(6) Understanding how parents can help their children after the divorce or separation and how to deal with new family structures and different sets of rules; and
(7) Understanding that cooperation may sometimes be inappropriate in cases of domestic violence.