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Are parenting classes mandatory after divorce?

If you have been navigating the difficult waters of divorce, you and your spouse may feel swamped under the many requirements to achieve a divorce in Massachusetts. When you discover that in order to handle custody decisions and meet requirements for a custody hearing you must attend parenting classes, it may sound unbelievable. Is it true that divorcing spouses with children must take mandatory parenting classes?

Per Mass.gov, yes - and these classes can provide many valuable resources for parents uncertain how to handle the emotional difficulties divorce places on your children. These courses are required to teach you how to reduce emotional stress and trauma to children under 18 when undergoing a divorce. You have 30 days from the court-mandated date to register for the program at a location of your choice; the registration fee is $80 unless you can attain a hardship waiver that reduces it to $5.

While circumstances may differ for parents ordered to attend a parenting program for other reasons, divorcing spouses are generally not scheduled into the same program. You must both fulfill the requirements of the program, but you do not have to attend together. Once you complete the program you will receive a Certificate of Attendance, which you must file with the court within 30 days of receipt. Failure to do so or failure to attend the program may affect your options in custody hearings.This is an informational blog post that should not be used as a substitute for legal advice or the counsel of a qualified legal professional.

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