Under Standing Order 4-08 of the Probate & Family Court, if you have any minor children at the time of the filing of your divorce case, you are required to attend the Court-sponsored Parents Apart education program before you can present either a settlement of your case, or present your case for trial. A brochure which lists the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the various organizations that provide this program, in alphabetical order by town, is available by clicking here.
You should immediately enroll in and attend this course because your case cannot end until you have completed the course, which consists of two 3 hour sessions. After completion of the program you will be provided with a golden Certificate of Completion, which you must provide to the Court. If you give this golden copy to your attorney, they can ensure that it is properly filed with the Court and this requirement fulfilled.
But, what if you can't attend?
I have worked on numerous cases where one of the parties had moved to another country or state and was unable to return to Massachusetts to take the course, usually due to financial constraints. In those limited circumstances, Judge's will sometimes allow a Motion to Waive Attendance. The court may suggest use of a DVD as a replacement for participation in the program (as a an alternative to a complete waiver).
According to the Press Release: "On a limited basis, use of a DVD program entitled KidCare for Co-Parents: An Educational Program for Divorcing Families is now available when a judge is considering a waiver.
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. Completion of the interactive aspects of the DVD is required in order to obtain the Certificate of Attendance which must then be provided to the Court."