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Massachusetts: Parent Education Program Attendance

All parties to a divorce action in which there are minor children, are ordered to attend and participate in an approved Massachusetts Parent Education Program. This requirement applies to divorces brought under Ch. 208 §1 (fault divorces); and Ch. 208 §1A and §1B (irretrievable breakdown) and in an action to establish paternity, complaints for modification or contempt or in any case involving visitation, custody, or support of minor children if specifically ordered by the Court.

The court may waive the attendance requirement upon motion, with notice, for one or both parties. Waivers will only be granted upon a demonstrable showing of certain factors. Most parties are required to attend and waivers are rare.

According to the Standing Order of the Court, it is mandatory that you register with an approved provider within sixty days (60) days of service of the original complaint upon the original defendant and attend the next available session. Your failure to register could result in sanctions by the Court and/or a delay of your pre-trial conference.

A pamphlet entitled “Parent Education Programs: Understanding the Effect of Divorce on Children” is provided to the Plaintiff when the Complaint is filed and is available at all Registries of Probate. You can also find lists of approved programs at the following site: http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/trial-court/pfc/pfc-parent-education-providers.html

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