Parenting Classes in Arizona – What You Need to Know
Sometimes, it may be difficult to determine what’s in the best interest of the child in the aftermath of a divorce. In such situations, courts can rely on an effective tool known as a parenting conference. Parenting conferences or parenting classes in Arizona are non-confidential and are used to gather essential information about the relationship a child has with both parents and the arrangements that would make the most sense in the aftermath of the divorce.
Arizona Parenting Conferences 101
Arizona Revised Statutes 25-406(A) allows a judge to order a parenting training class in the case of a contested legal decision-making process. Judges aren’t psychologists and they may need some additional assistance to examine different arrangements and how these could potentially impact a child. This is where parenting conferences or parenting classes in Arizona come in handy.
If parents cannot afford to hire a psychologist, such a professional will be appointed by the court (and the parents will have to pay a limited fee). The psychologist’s primary goal would be to carry out a full custody evaluation and to provide the judge with relevant information that will justify one decision or the other.
The therapist responsible for the investigation will interview both parents, as well as older children. Younger kids will be left out of the procedure.
Upon the completion of the process, the psychologist will have to craft a comprehensive report. Such a report can include many types of information like:
- The background of the family, the events that led up to the divorce
- The areas upon which the two former spouses can agree
- The areas that are a cause of conflict and disagreement
- Concerns that the parents have about an eventual child custody arrangement
- The professional observations of the psychologist
- Their recommendations
Following the submission of the report to both the judge and the two parties involved, a judicial review hearing will be scheduled. Usually, a report will be completed within 60 days from the original referral.
Keep in mind that it may also be possible for the two parents to reach an agreement during the parenting conference. If an agreement is reached and both parents agree to it, a parenting plan will be drafted on the basis of the discussion carried out during the parenting conference. Both parties sign this document to indicate their consent and the plan is submitted to the court.
Tips for Participating in a Parenting Class
For many individuals, the participation in a parenting class may prove to be nerve-wracking. After all, you will be evaluated by a professional who will determine your fitness as a parent.
For a start, don’t panic. It’s impossible to prepare for the exact set of questions that will be asked during the parenting conference. Honesty is your best policy. You will be examined by a trained professional and trying to conceal some of the truth could prove to be much more harmful than admitting something you’re not that proud of.
You can still prepare by drafting a list of things you’d want to say, especially if these things refer to the best interest of your child. Raising important topics can help you present your side of the story in an adequate way. Take the help of experienced family lawyers in Arizona.
If you are bringing documents and evidence to the conference, make sure there is a copy for your former spouse and for the psychologist. The conference officer will need to review such information before the report is drafted and you should certainly leave a copy with them.
Finally, don’t worry about your former spouse telling lies or trying to manipulate events against you. Professionals who conduct parenting conferences are experienced enough to identify malicious intent. Focus on why you’re a fit parent and be respectful. Both your arguments and your behavior during the session will be examined.