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Why do Massachusetts parents have to take a class to get a divorce?

| May 11, 2021 | Divorce |

There are many steps and requirements that Massachusetts residents must meet in order to complete their divorce proceedings. Though every divorce is different and based on the facts and circumstances of the individual parties, most divorces require participants to check the same legal boxes in order to legally terminate their marriages. When divorcing parties have children, those requirements include provisions involving custody and support. In Massachusetts, divorcing parents also must take educational courses about the impact of divorce on kids in order to complete their proceedings.

This post looks at the parenting course requirement for divorcing parents in Massachusetts. It examines its rationale for existence and some of the problems it can present for parents. No part of this post is considered legal advice, and all readers should talk to their family law attorneys for guidance if they have questions or concerns about their divorce-related duties.

Coursework on parenting to complete a divorce

At the core of child-related divorce matters is the legal goal of protecting the best interests of the children whose lives are affected by divorce outcomes and orders. Protecting a child’s best interests can include basic requirements like ensuring they have shelter and food. It can also involve making sure a child’s parent is supportive, loving, and involved in the life of their child.

The parenting class requirement for Massachusetts divorces came out of this goal several decades ago. The aim of the requirement was to make sure divorcing parents understood what needs their children would continue to have once their marriages were over and what impact divorce may have on their children’s lives. The problem that some see with this long-standing requirement is that it assumes parents do not prioritize their children when they choose to end their marriages.

Problems with parenting coursework as a requirement for divorce

Not every parent who chooses to divorce does so for selfish means. In fact, many parents choose to leave unsafe and unhappy marriages for the benefit of their kids. Complaints against the coursework requirement highlight its emotional presentation and the inaccurately presented concern that children of divorce do not grow up as well-adjusted humans.

The ability to be a good parent is not directly tied to a person’s status as single or married. A person who was a good parent in marriage may continue to be a good parent after divorce. The parenting coursework requirement for Massachusetts divorces is a necessity that, at present, parents must meet in order to end their marriages. Their divorce attorneys can counsel them on how best to address the difficult elements of this requirement and the many other steps they must take to successfully divorce.