By Shelby Anderson, Esq. and
Chelsey Klotz (paralegal)
What is the Parent Information Program Class?
In any family law matter that involves minor children, ARS § 25-351 directs the superior court in each county to provide an educational program for parents.
Why do I have to take this class?
The main purpose of the required parent information program class is to educate parents about the effect that divorce and child custody disputes between parents may have on the children common to the parties. Under ARS § 25-352, (1) any dissolution of marriage, legal separation, (2) annulment involving children common to the parties, or (3) in any paternity proceeding where (a) parenting time, (b) decision-making, or (c) child support are at issue, the court shall order the parties to complete a parent education program. There are exceptions to the requirement to take the class. First, the court may, either on its own motion or a motion of either party, determine that participation of the parents in the class is not in the child’s best interests. Second, a parent may provide the court with information of enrollment in an education program comparable to the court-ordered program. Third, the court could determine that a parent has already completed a court-ordered educational program or a comparable program. This third exception applies frequently to modifications of parenting time, legal decision-making, or child support orders. However, the court can still order the parents to attend the educational program more than once. These exceptions are also outlined in ARS § 25-352.
Do I need to take the class?
For any person involved in a legal matter in which legal decision-making, parenting time, or child support is up for determination, you will be required to take and complete the online course, unless any of the exceptions stated above applies to your matter.
Is there a deadline to complete the class?
Each parent is required to complete the educational program within the time frame ordered by the judge. It is better to get this completed as soon as possible in order to avoid missing the deadline. However, the deadline for compliance may be extended by the judge in your matter. The deadline is typically stated in the Minute Entry setting trial, so review all orders listed to ensure compliance. Every judge has possible sanctions for failing to timely complete the educational program, including vacating the currently set trial date to allow additional time for compliance prior to the hearing. The court could also potentially award the other parent certain attorney fees if one parent fails to comply with the order to complete the program if that court determines the failure was unreasonable.
Will I get a certificate of completion?
You will be awarded a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course. Your class instructor will automatically send a copy to the clerk for filing upon your completion of the class. It will be made available for viewing 5 to 7 business days later.
Will there be a fee?
There is a small fee of no more than $50.00 due prior to taking the course.
Where can I find Court approved classes?
A current list of court-approved classes are as follows:
AZ Priority Education & Counseling
English/Español: (602) 485-1200
Children In-Between Online
Niños En Medio En Linea
Families in Transition
English: (480) 946-9680
Español: (602) 451-4046
Still have additional questions? Please feel free to visit our website and call Doran Justice at (602) 675-4508 to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.
*This information is correct and up to date as of the day this article was written.