Massachusetts' New Co-Parenting Education Requirement
As a family law attorney in Massachusetts, I am committed to keeping you informed about the latest legal developments that may impact you and your family. One such change is the recent Probate and Family Court Standing Order 3-2023, which introduces a new requirement for parents involved in certain types of family law cases.
Effective November 1, 2023, the Standing Order mandates that parents involved in cases such as annulment, divorce, establishing custody or parenting time, and post-judgment litigation involving custody and parenting time, must attend a court-approved co-parenting education course called "Two Families Now". This requirement applies to cases filed on or after the effective date of the Standing Order.
What is "Two Families Now"?
"Two Families Now" is a 4-hour online co-parenting course designed to strengthen parenting skills, promote positive co-parent communication, reduce co-parent conflict, and help parents understand the negative impact parental conflict can have on children. The course can be taken at your own pace, using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Who Must Attend?
The Standing Order requires all parents involved in the aforementioned case types to attend the course, unless the requirement is waived by the court. Even if there is no court order requiring attendance, parents can voluntarily attend the course.
What Happens After the Course?
Once ordered to attend the course, each parent must complete it within 45 days of the date of the order. After completion, each parent must file their Certificate of Completion with the Court within 14 calendar days. Failure to complete the course may result in sanctions.
What About the Cost?
The cost to attend "Two Families Now" is $49.00 per parent. If a parent is unable to afford the fee, they can submit an "Affidavit of Indigency and Request for Waiver, Substitution or State Payment of Fees and Costs" to the Court for a fee waiver.
This new Standing Order is a significant development in Massachusetts family law. It underscores the court's commitment to the best interests of the child and the importance of effective co-parenting. As always, it's important to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to understand how these changes may affect your case.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.