Parent Education Programs & Covid-19

June 11, 2020: Before the era of Covid-19 (the good old days), the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court required that parents of children under 18 registers for a Parent Education Program within 30 days from when the original complaint was served on the defendant, or within 30 days from an order from the Court. When we are working with mediation clients, the timeframe is less formal, but the class must be completed before the Separation Agreement and related documents are filed with the Court. When the class is completed, a parent receives a certificate on a lovely golden-colored piece of paper. We like to call that the “golden ticket.”

Pre-Covid, parents that preferred to complete the course through video, had to file a motion to complete the class online or by DVD, along with a reason for the request, such as incarceration or living outside of Massachusetts. The Parent Education Program also requires an $80 fee to the provider in advance, in case you were wondering about the cost.

Things are different now, although on a temporary basis most likely. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the court has temporarily amended the standing order to allow the program providers to conduct parent education courses via web video conferencing, using options such as Zoom and Skype. Parents may also satisfy the parent education attendance requirement by completing the DVD or online program entitle Kid Care for Co-Parents: An Educational Program for Divorcing Families. Most of our clients seem to be using this online option.

When completing the program on web video conferencing, DVD, or online program, it is no longer necessary to obtain the Court’s permission to waive the in-person attendance requirement.

A list of currently approved programs, including Kid Care for Co-Parents: An Educational Program for Divorcing Families are available at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/parent-education-programs.

If you need assistance with a divorce, family law, custody, or parenting issue, please contact us at Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution LLC, and speak with one of our family lawyers, mediators, or a parenting coordinator. We can be reached at (508) 206-9889.