Two Families Now: Co-Parenting Course Revised

Burns & Levinson LLP

Burns & Levinson LLP


The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has substantially revised Standing Order 3-23, which requires completion of a four-hour online parenting course, which has been renamed “Two Families Now.”  The revised Standing Order takes effect as of February 12, 2024.  The course is designed to strengthen parenting skills, effectuate positive co-parent communication, help parents find ways to reduce co-parent conflict  and help parents understand parental conflict’s negative impact on children.

Absent a waiver, all parties to a Complaint for Divorce, Complaint for Separate Support, Complaint to Establish Paternity, or Complaint for Custody/Support/Parenting filed on or after February 12, 2024 which involves custody or parenting-time issues are required to complete the online course. Parents who file an uncontested Joint Petition for Divorce under G.L. c. 208, § 1A are not required to complete the course. Judges retain the authority to order parties to post-divorce modification and contempt actions involving parenting to also complete the course.

Either party may seek a waiver from the requirement to complete the co-parenting course. Waivers may be granted when there is a demonstrable showing of:

  • action or patterns of behaviors which make parental communication unsafe; or
  • language barriers; or
  • incarceration or other unavailability of a party.

Waivers may also be granted when:

  • a written agreement on custody and/or parenting time issues is filed with the Court; or
  • a parent has previously attended the course; or
  • where justice otherwise indicates.

Parents must register for the online course within thirty calendar days of the service of the complaint and complete the course within thirty days after that.  The four hours do not need to be completed in one sitting but can be spread out over several days. A certificate of completion must be filed with the Court within fourteen days of  course completion

To learn more about the co-parenting course, click here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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