Parents and Children In Transition (PACT)
Throughout Massachusetts, and much of the United States, divorcing parents of children under 18-years-old are required to attend court sponsored education programs to help ease the effects of divorce on children.
In Massachusetts the programs consist of two 2-1/2 hour long parent education sessions. In Northampton the program, Parents and Children in Transition (PACT), is offered under the auspices of the Hampshire County Bar Association. The PACT program aims to empower parents by imparting information to best help children adjust to divorce. It is a program of support.
The PACT sessions consist of video, short presentations, and discussion. A male/female team of child development and parent education specialists lead the programs. Topics include:
- What children need to know
- Pitfalls for parents to avoid
- Typical reactions of children to separation/divorce
- What parents can do to help children adjust
- Problem solving
- Dispute resolution and cooperative parenting
Certificates of Attendance:
Certificates of attendance will be distributed at the end of the second session. PACT will deliver your certificate to the Hampshire County Probate and Family Court if your docket number is provided.
Child care is not available. Please do not bring children.
Divorcing parents are required to attend separate sessions.
All sessions begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. Parents arriving late will need to reschedule. Sessions end on time at 8:30 p.m.
Pre-registration is required. Sessions tend to fill quickly. Please click the PACT Schedule tab to choose program dates. Call 413-586-4597 for further registration information.
Sessions are 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. The location will be announced when your registration is confirmed. All programs are held in Northampton.
Tuesdays, December 9 & 16
Tuesdays, January 6 & 13
Tuesdays, February 24 & March 3
Tuesdays, April 21 & 28
Tuesdays, June 9 & 16
Pre-registration is required. After registering you must receive a confirmation letter via email or U.S. Postal. Attendance without confirmation is not permitted. The location of the program will be announced in the confirmation letter. All programs are held in Northampton.
Fee: $80.00 per person
Fee waivers: All but $5.00 may be waived for persons qualifying as indigent. A fee waiver can be obtained through the Probate and Family Court (413) 586-8500 and must be attached to the registration with $5.00.
- Print the attached registration form OR Call (413) 586-4597 to request a form
- Make checks or money orders payable to HCBA
- Mail form with fee and, if applicable, fee waiver to
Hampshire County Bar Association
15 Gothic Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Also in preparation for our classes and to better support you and your children, PACT registrants are asked to log onto the website www.UpToParents.org and complete the program. This highly acclaimed educational and motivation resource will guide you to greater clarity on issues related to our workshop. Upon conclusion of this online program, a certificate of completion can be printed which can be submitted to the courts documenting your participation in the web-based aspect of our training.
Click here for a pdf of a PACT brochure
A PACT Parent Handbook is distributed to PACT participants and includes detailed resource information. Here is some additional information:
Recommended Book List
For planning shared parenting:
Planning for Shared Parenting: A Guide for Parents Living Apart
For general divorce guidelines:
Our favorite books for children:
We always recommend that parents read children’s books ahead of time to be sure you feel comfortable with the wording.
Preschool: Mama and Daddy Bear’s Divorce, by Cornelia M. Spelman.
Early elementary school: It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear, by Vicki Lansky.
Older elementary school: Dinosaurs Divorce, by Laurene and Marc Brown.
Junior high and high school: Divorce is Not the End of the World - Zoe's and Evan's Coping Guide for Kids, by Zoe, Evan and their mom, Ellen Sue Stern.
More books are detailed in the PACT Parent Handbook.
Other Court Approved Parent Education Programs: