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Learn about parent education

What divorcing couples need to know about parent education

Attendance, registration and records

People who are getting divorced and have children under 18 must participate in an approved Parent Education Program.

In addition, a judge may require people in other types of family law cases to attend a Parent Education Program. 

You must register with an approved program within 30 days of service of the original complaint upon the original defendant. Other parties ordered to attend a parent education program must register for a program within thirty (30) days of the order.

Each parent must pay $80 to the provider in advance. The same fee applies to participation via DVD or online in the program entitled KidCare for Co-Parents: An Educational Program for Divorcing Families.

If you cannot afford the $80 course fee, you may be eligible to pay a reduced fee of $5 to the provider. You must submit an Affidavit of Indigency and Request for Waiver, Substitution or State Payment of Fees and Costs to the court. If the waiver of the fee is allowed by the court, you must submit a copy of the approved waiver to the Parent Education provider when seeking to attend a program for the $5 reduced fee. 

Programs will ensure that parents do not attend the same session of any program unless the Court orders otherwise. 

After you register, complete and file the Affidavit Confirming Registration at Parent Education Program. 

After you complete the program, you will receive a Certificate of Attendance You must file this Certificate of Attendance with the Court no later than thirty (30) days after completing the program. 

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Getting excused from parent education

If you have a very good reason, you may be able to get excused from attending parent education.

To request a judge's permission to not attend, you must file a Motion to Waive Attendance at a Parent Education Program.

The motion must include the reason you think you can't attend a Parent Education Program. Acceptable reasons may be: chronic and severe violence which negates safe parental communication; language barriers; institutionalization or other unavailability of a party; or where justice otherwise indicates.

The Court may decide that you must use the five-hour DVD or online program entitled KidCare for Co-Parents: An Educational Program for Divorcing Families to satisfy the Parent Education Program requirement. Waiver for one parent does not automatically apply to the other parent. 

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Online and DVD parent education

If  you cannot attend an in person Parent Education Program, you may file a Motion to Permit Completion of Parent Education Program via DVD or Online. The motion must include the reason you believe you cannot attend a Parent Education Program in person. Examples where use of the DVD program may be ordered include unusual situations such as incarceration, extended hospitalization, extended military service, or residence outside of Massachusetts, of one of the parties. KidCare for Co-Parents is a four and a half hour multimedia, interactive program which can be used with a DVD player on either a personal computer or a television screen.

If allowed, you must complete the interactive program and obtain the Certificate of Attendance. This Certificate must be provided by the party to the Court no later than 30 days after completion of the program. Approval for one parent does not automatically apply to the other parent. 

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