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Putting Children 1st is a court mandated parent education class for divorcing parents in Massachusetts approved by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court.

Who must attend? According to court regulation, all parents of children under eighteen years old, filing for divorce must attend the classes.

Can I attend with my spouse? No. The court approved Parent Education guidelines require that spouses attend separate sessions.

Do I have to attend both classes? Yes, the state requires a total of five hours of class time within two sessions.

Who conducts the course? Experienced, state-approved counselors lead this course. The leader must have more than five years licensed counseling experience and group-training experience. The state requires that the leader have experience with divorce issues.

What is the purpose of the course? The focus of class time is to understand the effect of divorce on children. The assumptions are that parents want to do a good job raising their kids and that divorce is an unsettling experience for kids and for each of their parents. The purpose of the class is to help parents and their children through the separation and divorce process.

What happens in a class? The class utilizes a variety of approaches including: lecture, discussion, video and small group discussion.


All of the following classes will be held on Wednesdays from 5:00 - 7:30 P.M.:

All classes are held at Merrimack College's McQuade Library Conference Room on the first floor.

  • January 4 & 11

  • February 1 & 8
  • March 8 & 15
  • April 5 & 12

Please make every effort to be on time. Participants must attend the entire two sessions to be eligible for a completion certificate. Click here for a map and directions to the Merrimack College campus located at 315 Turnpike Street (Rte 114) North Andover, MA 01845.

Please do not bring children to class.

Confirmation calls: Feel free to call the receptionist to confirm your place in class. To receive a confirmation call, you must enter a “Confirmation Phone” on the registration form. If you do not leave a confirmation phone you will not receive a confirmation call.

Cancelled Classes: A Parent Ed class is cancelled if classes at Merrimack College are cancelled. Come to the second session.

  Putting Children First


The cost of a two session class is $80.00 per person. You can register by filling out a form and sending a check (click here for form).You can also register through PayPal by using either your credit card or your PayPal account, if you have one. (There is a $15 fee if you request a refund.)


Click here to open the registration form, complete all the necessary information and return with a $80.00 payment.  (There is a $20 fee for processed checks with insufficient funds.)



Name of Person Taking Class & Their Spouse's Name (in this order)*
Dates You're Attending*
* required field

Cancellation: The $80.00 fee is nonrefundable unless two full business days notice is given prior to date/time of class. For example: to cancel a Wednesday 9:30 a.m. class, your cancellation notice must be received before Monday at 9:30 a.m. To cancel call (978) 327-6650 and leave a message.