File for divorce in massachusetts

Contact our Quincy or Hingham law office for additional assistance with your family law, divorce, property division or child custody matter. Call or contact the office. Where to File These Documents After you have compiled all the documents listed above, you can file for divorce in a Probate and Family Court in your county.


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What is a Parent Education Certificate? The mediator will take a collaborative approach and attempt to final terms that work best for both sides.

Online Divorce in Massachusetts

Over the course of one or more sessions, a mediator will review financial documents, forms and worksheets as part of a discovery process and then guide you and your spouse through a series of discussions about the outstanding issues, attempting to peacefully resolve things such as child support and custody, alimony and a division of assets. You can request that these fees be waived if you are too poor to afford to pay them. You will also need to pay some sort of a retainer up front to start the process. In some cases, a judge may require a couple to go through mediation as part of the divorce process.

Fully contested divorces can run into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on how contentious the divorce is, what kind of assets are involved, and how much disagreement there is with child custody and support issues. When a couple first agrees to an uncontested divorce and creates a written Separation Agreement that is then filed with the Probate and Family Court as joint petitioners, the process takes about three months.

In more complicated marriages where issues need to be worked out, the time frame can take considerably longer. Parents who have minor children are required to take a court-approved parent education program and must also allow themselves time to complete this pre-hearing requirement. A certificate of program completion must be filed with the Court as part of the divorce filing.

After a Separation Agreement, financial statements and a Joint Petition for divorce have been filed, a hearing date will be scheduled. If the Separation Agreement is approved, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi temporary judgment of divorce will be entered 30 days later. That Judgment will then become absolute final within 90 more days. This means that the entire process, including the negotiations to create a Separation Agreement generally take about 7 to 8 months in an uncontested divorce.

In a contested divorce where only one party files a Complaint for Divorce, the parties must wait six months from the filing date to have a divorce hearing where a Judgment of Divorce Nisi may be issued. The Judgment will then become final within 90 days after that. If both sides reach a settlement during the six month waiting period, the divorce can be switched to uncontested so that the hearing process can be set without going through the entire six-month period.

However, most of the time this is not the case and a trial may be required when no agreement is reached. This can result in an additional waiting period of several more months. In Massachusetts, the Probate and Family Court official time-standard for contested divorces is 14 months This means that the divorce process, from filing to entry of a judgment, should take no more than 14 months. Every divorce has financial issues that need to be addressed.

In some cases, a family law attorney can provide all the information you need.


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A CDFA can help you understand the long-term impact of your decisions so you can weigh the pros and cons. In fact, working with a CDFA can actually lower the cost of your divorce by giving you more clarity to make decisions which cuts down on the back-and-forth negotiations. Bifurcation means that both parties in a divorce can legally divide their divorce into two stages. The first part satisfies the grounds for the divorce.

How to File For Divorce in Massachusetts

The marriage is terminated at that point. It also means that the financial aspects of the divorce such as child custody, visitation, child support, alimony or other contentious issues that may have stalled or that have become major sticking points will be finalized at a later date.

Get a copy of your divorce or other Probate & Family Court record

Unfortunately, bifurcation in Massachusetts is not allowed. All issues must be resolved and finalized before a divorce will be granted. If you are served with papers but refuse to sign a separation agreement, then the divorce is considered a contested divorce and your case will be resolved by a judge instead of the spouses working out terms. Cooperation among spouses makes the process easier and less expensive, but the bottom line is that one spouse will not be able to stop another spouse from getting a divorce.

The divorce decree is also a summary of the rights and responsibilities of each party, including financial responsibilities and a division of assets. In Massachusetts a divorce nisi is the time between when a judge grants a divorce and when the divorce becomes final.

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It gives both parties a chance to change their minds and to verify that all assets in a marriage have been properly and truthfully accounted. No actions need to be taken during this time. When the waiting period ends, your divorce will be final automatically. A contested no-fault divorce is not final until 90 days from the date of the hearing if a judgment is entered.

After your divorce is final, you will not receive an actual decree from the court, but you can request a certified copy of your divorce decree from the court that granted your divorce.

Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts | Online Divorce MA

A decree is a legally binding document, and if either party does not meet the requirements and obligations set forth in the decree, the other party can take legal action to correct any deficiencies. A divorce certificate has much less information than a decree. It usually only names both spouses and the date and place of a divorce, but nothing else. In a fault divorce , the person asking for the divorce must prove specific ground s or reason s for the divorce.

These grounds are listed in M. If you would like to continue helping us improve Mass. Massachusetts Court System. Skip table of contents.

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Show More Table of contents. Show Table of Contents. Fault or no-fault 7 reasons you can be considered at fault for causing a marriage to end There are 7 "fault" grounds or reasons, and also a "no fault" grounds. This is an uncontested no-fault divorce. This is a contested no-fault divorce.

If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement, you can file a request to change the divorce complaint from a 1B to a 1A divorce.