Family Law

Professional Development Plan


This professional development plan takes you step by step through the most essential elements of family law practice.

Usage note
  • Overview
  • Unit 1: The Probate and Family Court System
  • Unit 2: The Initial Client Interview and Starting the Action for Divorce
  • Unit 3: Mediation and Other Dispute Resolution Alternatives
  • Unit 4: Collaborative Family Law
  • Unit 5: Motion Practice for Temporary Orders
  • Unit 6: Financial Statements
  • Unit 7: Discovery
  • Unit 8: Division of Estate
  • Unit 9: Alimony
  • Unit 10: Child Support
  • Unit 11: Issues Relating to Children
  • Unit 12: Pretrial Hearings
  • Unit 13: Marital Agreements
  • Unit 14: Use of Experts
  • Unit 15: Valuation
  • Unit 16: Retirement Assets
  • Unit 17: Trial Practice Techniques
  • Unit 18: Selected Evidentiary Issues
  • Unit 19: Posttrial Motions and Appellate Procedure
  • Unit 20: Modification
  • Unit 21: Contempt
  • Unit 22: Tax Considerations
  • Unit 23: Premarital Agreements
  • Unit 24: Health Insurance
  • Unit 25: Representing Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Unit 26: Ethical Issues for Family Lawyers
  • Unit 27: Same-Sex Marriage, Divorce and Estate Planning
  • Unit 28: The Intersection of Bankruptcy and Divorce
  • Unit 29: Basic Estate Planning for Divorce Lawyers
  • Unit 30: Adoption
  • Unit 31: Paternity
  • Unit 32: Child Welfare


New Lawyers: To help you get started on your professional development path, try your first Unit for FREE – a $50 value. Once you make your choice, choose the red "Select Free Unit" button. Please note: you will be asked to verify your Massachusetts Bar admission date and BBO number to complete your free selection.

This professional development plan takes you step by step through the most essential elements of family law practice.

How to Use the Plan

Click on a unit to identify relevant online resources that have been selected from MCLE’s collection of programs and publications. Then click on any link to

  • view a recommended program or specific lecture,
  • read a relevant chapter,
  • select a sample form, or
  • choose a training module with a practical demonstration by MCLE's highly experienced faculty.

The resources identified represent only a small portion of what is available on MCLE’s website. To see what else is available on any given topic, click the “See All MCLE Resources” link at the bottom of each unit to conduct a search for other full programs, individual lectures, chapters and forms.

Ongoing Updates and Additions

We continue to work on this plan and are adding dynamic content to each of these topics on a regular basis, including new programs and lectures, information from our books, and demonstrations. Keep checking back for updates and new material. We also look forward to your suggestions on how we can make this plan the most effective tool for your professional development and training needs.

Other Available Resources

In addition to the resources available through the professional development plan, MCLE offers in-person programming for developing core competencies and providing opportunities to engage with the family law practice community. MCLE’s signature two-day Divorce Law: MCLE BasicsPlus!® program helps you master the fundamental concepts, law, and skills to represent your clients successfully. MCLE’s annual Family Law Conference and Juvenile Delinquency & Child Welfare Conference provide cutting-edge analyses of the latest practice developments and opportunities to share ideas with attorneys in similar practices from around the state. If you are building a family law litigation practice, be sure to attend MCLE’s Family Law Trial Advocacy Workshop and Family Law Mediation training for intensive week-long, hands-on bootcamps to help you hone your skills and learn the techniques needed to advocate for your clients.

Note to Firm Training Directors and Law School Librarians & Clinical Program Directors

MCLE’s professional development plans have been designed to complement in-house training and law school educational programs. Firms can tailor plans to the specific needs of their training programs—taking associates unit by unit through an entire practice area plan or targeting only the areas of greatest relevance. Law school faculty and clinical program directors can use professional development plans to identify lectures, demonstrations, articles and forms for use in the classroom, as a supplement to classroom presentations, or to support the student’s representation of clients in the school’s clinical program. If your firm or law school subscribes to the MCLE OnlinePass®, all the electronic resources included in MCLE’s professional development plans are instantly accessible to everyone in your firm or school.