When parents in New Jersey divorce, they are required by law to attend the New Jersey Parent Education Program before a final Divorce Decree can be ordered. While this may sound intimidating, the purpose of divorcing parent’s class is to provide parents with the tools and resources needed to co-parent and take care of their children during and after divorce.
Rest assured; mandatory attendance is under no circumstances a reflection of bad parenting. New Jersey custody laws protect the welfare of the child, and agreement to attend these classes showcases a parent’s willingness to provide for the child’s needs.
To clarify misconceptions about divorcing parent’s class, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about New Jersey classes for divorcing parents that we often hear in our office.
FAQs About New Jersey Classes For Divorcing Parents
What is the New Jersey Parent’s Education Act?
When it comes to the Divorce Act and Family Law, protecting the best interests of the children is a priority. New Jersey’s Parent’s Education Act, first adopted in 1999, aims to educate divorcing parents on how best to parent their children during times of crisis.
Why do I need to participate in a divorcing parent’s class?
Divorcing parent’s class is essentially a workshop to help adults understand their family’s needs as they progress through the challenging process of separation and divorce. Many states, including New Jersey, have made it compulsory for parents to attend to ensure they will continue to cooperatively co-parent their children when they are no longer together.
What is covered in a divorcing parent’s class?
These classes aim to help parents gain a greater understanding of the emotional and financial effects a divorce can have on their children. Most importantly, they teach parents how to communicate with their children and build a new co-parenting relationship with their former spouse.
Divorcing parent classes typically cover the following:
- What and how to communicate to your children about separation and divorce
- The different ways children react to divorce and how to handle behavioral issues that arise
- How to develop a healthy family structure and different sets of rules
- The legal process and cost of divorce or separation, including arbitration and mediation
- Specific strategies, ideas, tools, and resources to assist your children through the divorce process
- How to answer any questions or concerns your children might have about the divorce and their new life arrangements
How are classes for divorcing parent’s guidelines updated?
Each year, a government-appointed advisory committee updates the New Jersey Parent Education Program curriculum to reflect constantly evolving issues in family law cases.
What happens if my spouse doesn't take a divorcing parenting class?
Unless a waiver is granted by the courts, both parents are required to attend parenting classes. If your spouse doesn’t attend, the judge may choose not to grant the divorce or may hold your spouse in contempt of court. When it comes to resolving custody and visitation issues, the court will consider failure to complete or participate in the program.
However, if you have been a victim of domestic violence, it’s important to let the judge know, as this program may not be appropriate for you. You will also not have to complete the program if you have a temporary or permanent restraining order against your spouse. The court may exempt a party from attention if they find a good cause for exemption.
How long do I have to complete the class for divorcing parents?
Classes run throughout the year and are usually available twice a month. Each spouse must complete the program before the entry of judgment.
Do I have to attend divorcing parent’s class in New Jersey with my spouse?
While you and your spouse are required to attend parenting classes, you may participate alone, and at different times. No couple may be forced to attend together, and it’s generally not advised.
Where are divorcing parent’s classes located in New Jersey?
There are several classes you can attend online, or in-person provided by various organizations, so long as they are court-approved, and you can present an accredited certificate after completing the workshop.
- The Center for Divorce Education
- New Jersey Parent & Stabilization Course
- Authentic Parenting
- Court-ordered Classes
How much does a divorcing parenting class cost?
Unfortunately, parenting classes are not free. Each parent is required to pay a fee ranging from $25 to $75 per person. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you may file a written application for a fee waiver.
Contact A New Jersey Family Law Attorney
Divorce completely changes family dynamics, bringing about short and long-term, emotional, economic, and social effects. The mandatory attendance at classes for divorcing parents helps families address these common challenges. Courts can delay the entry of a final order if parents have not attended these classes. For this reason, it’s advisable to sit down with an attorney and make sure you have met all the legal requirements to ensure your divorce proceedings go as smoothly as possible.
Protect What Matters Most
Toms River and Moorestown Family Law Attorneys
Our family law attorneys understand the divorce process can be overwhelming and that you have many questions, and we will guide you through the process and answer all your questions. Divorce is already a complex and emotionally fraught situation - adding children into the equation makes the process that much more complicated. That’s why we go above and beyond to provide compassionate guidance and assertive representation you can rely on. When you need a divorce and family law attorney, turn to Stolfe Zeigler New Jersey Family Law Group.
Contact our attorneys at Stolfe Zeigler today at (732) 585-1651 to get started with an initial case evaluation.