Parenting Classes in a Massachusetts Divorce

Court approved parenting classes in Massachusetts

It used to be if you were getting a contested or uncontested divorce in Massachusetts and had children together, you and your spouse would both have to attend parenting classes. The purpose of these classes was to teach you how to best co-parent with your ex. The idea was that your children would benefit from you and your spouse addressing common issues involved in being good parents after the divorce. The classes were sanctioned and approved by the state.

Court ordered parenting classes in Massachusetts

As part of the divorce process, you used to have to file three documents if you had children together. One of those documents was a Certificate of Attendance at a parenting class. The other two documents are the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet and an Affidavit Disclosing Care and Custody Proceedings. These were in addition to the seven other documents which must be filed in every divorce. In order to get the certificate, you would have to attend the class and complete the work.

Parenting classes in Massachusetts for divorce are no longer required 

In 2021, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court announced that the parenting class is no longer required for a divorce. Any divorce cases filed after July 11, 2021 do not need to have a Certificate of Attendance from the parenting class. That could always change in the future, but as of now, no classes are required. 

History

Massachusetts was one of only 17 states that required a parent education certificate for divorcing parents. These classes were started in 1994. Since then, there has been no reliable data that proved the classes were producing the desired results. The 22 state-approved providers of mandatory parenting classes failed to abide by the court’s requirements. Also, the mandated parenting classes were a burden on the court. For those reasons, the parenting education program was cancelled.

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