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NY Courts Offer a Helpful Resource: Parent Education Programs

March 15, 2012

By Betsy Shequine, MH Mediation

Until recently I was unaware that the New York Court System offers a free Parent Education and Awareness Handbook for Separating or Divorcing Parents.

I was really surprised at the completeness and quality of the presentation and believe that it  could be a boon to separating parents who want to learn what sorts of parenting arrangements and/or plans are best for their children.

It’s available as a downloadable PDF from the New York Courts website

http://www.nycourts.gov/ip/parent-ed/index.shtml

The handbook focuses on four different areas:

1. You, your well being, and being a role model for your children
2. Your Children
3. Your Children’s Other Parent
4. Ways to Reduce Conflict.

It also provides an outline of the legal process, ways to resolve your dispute, and discusses how courts make Custody Decisions, which can be very valuable, as you can imagine.

Naturally, in the interests of full disclosure, I would be in favor of using Mediation, as a form of resolving these differences and reaching agreement. The handbook gives a fair and sensible description of the process:

“Mediation
Mediation is a form of negotiation in which the parents work with a specially
trained neutral person, known as a mediator, to reach an agreement about the
children’s future living arrangements. Mediation can work with and supplement
the legal system. Both parents may wish to consult a lawyer before entering
mediation or to have an attorney present during mediation to be sure that they
understand their legal rights and responsibilities. Further, there may need to be
discovery, which is available through the court process, in order to ensure that
both parents are fully informed before entering mediation and any agreements.
Mediation is not counseling. Mediators do not make decisions for parents, but
help the parents to make their own decisions and reach agreement.”

(from page 31 of the Handbook.)

There are also Parent Education Classes available by Certified Providers, a list of them is also found on the www.NYCourts.gov site.

Take a look at this great site. There are many other articles, any of which might be right on point for someone going through the process of ending their marriage while still parenting children.

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