Court-connected parent education programs are an integral family service component in most of the nation’s family courts. These programs are implemented to enable the courts to respond efficiently and effectively to the proliferation of cases involving separation, divorce, and related issues such as child custody and access (Sigal, Sandler, Wolchik, and Braver, 2008; Pollet and Lombreglia, 2008; McIntosh and Deacon-Wood, 2003). Since 2007, parent education classes are mandatory in forty-six states (Pollet and Lombreglia, 2008). In Maryland, every court with jurisdiction over divorce and child custody matters utilizes some form of parent education.
The findings discussed in this literature review indicate that divorce education is more effective in certain circumstances than in others. Divorce education is less successful in improving communication between parents who already are well into the divorce process, and it is more successful when introduced earlier in the divorce process (Pollet and Lombreglia, 2008; McIntosh and Deacon-Wood, 2003; Thoennes and Pearson, 1999). The literature also indicates that skills-based, interactive divorce education programs are more effective than divorce education programs that simply provide parents with information presented in a didactic format (Bacon and McKenzie 2004).
Barbara A. Babb, Gloria Danziger & Judith D. Moran, Parent Education Programs: Review of the Literature and Annotated Bibliography, Maryland Judiciary (2009) (with Englander) (2009)