According to the Arizona Judicial Branch, the state of Arizona mandates that all newly divorcing parents of young children and unmarried parents who go through custodial disputes must attend an educational program focused on the child’s or children’s needs. The program, which the courts simply refer to as the “Parent Education Program,” has been in effect since January 2, 1997.
In 2012, the state further revised the statutes dealing with the program to include education regarding the impact of divorce on adults. The changes went into effect on January 1, 2013. The statutes now include a list of information the Arizona Supreme Court must adopt for the standards for the educational program.
Arizona State Legislature, Statute 25-351, outlines the minimum informational standards the educational programs must cover. Those include the following:
- The financial, psychological, emotional, physical and short- and long-term impacts of divorce on both children and adults
- Alternatives to divorce
- Resources that may help the disputing parties strengthen their marriage
- Details regarding the legal process of divorce and available options for mediation
- Resources for coping with life post-divorce
Each county judge is free to draft the program him or herself. However, the judge must include the aforementioned material and submit the proposed plan to the supreme court for approval. In addition to ensuring the plan includes the minimum standards for an acceptable educational program, the judge must also include the proposed nature and length of the program, the means by which the state or county will evaluate and maintain the program and the qualifications of the suggested program providers.