Divorce ends 120 days after the date of judgment. The court will set a hearing date after all paperwork has been filed. Both spouses must attend the hearing, unless the court has accepted an attendance waiver for one of the spouses. An uncontested divorce is filed when both spouses agree on all relevant matters, and this is usually filed in the form of a joint petition for divorce.
You can file divorce papers in person or by mail. Contact the Probate and Family Court in the county where you will apply for location or specific filing information by mail. Third, you must file divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse. For more information about filing a summons, preparing a petition, and serving the process, go to the Starting the Court Case page in our How to Prepare for Court: Yourself.
File the Petition for Divorce and other documents with the appropriate Probate and Family Court. If there is an affidavit of indigence in the proper form, the clerk must approve and seal it, and give you a copy. You will also receive a domestic relations summons. Arrange for the sheriff to give a copy of the complaint to your spouse.
When the sheriff does this, it is called a notice of process, which means that the sheriff has served (legally served) the documents to the spouse. After you have completed your forms, you will need to file the papers with the Probate and Family Court. If you or your spouse live in the county where you lived together, you file for divorce in the Probate and Family Court in that county. Otherwise, you can apply in the county where you or your spouse now live.
If you want to get a divorce without opposition but have trouble agreeing on all issues, divorce mediation can help you resolve your disputes. It is possible to do some initial paperwork online by hiring the services of a private family law attorney or using one of several firms that specialize in assisting in the preparation of divorce forms in the state. If the court does not grant divorce at the Case Management Conference, the next hearing date must be assigned. Massachusetts does not have an official form for this document, but many online divorce services will provide you with a complete agreement based on the information you have provided.
You will need to file the documentation with the court in the county where you and your spouse lived as a couple while one of you is still living there or, if you both moved from that county, in the county where you both live now. Massachusetts has what is called the NISI Period, which is the time between when the court issues the final divorce judgment and the time that judgment takes effect. But if you have a degree of financial complexity, you should consider working with a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). This simply means that there is another 90-day waiting period before the divorce judgment is absolute.
This type of divorce occurs when the spouses cannot or do not want to agree on how to resolve all relevant issues, which is sometimes referred to as an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Getting an unopposed 1A divorce in Massachusetts is almost always faster, easier, and cheaper than a contested 1B divorce. There is no need for a trial and the process is simpler, faster and less expensive than a contested divorce. While these properties would still need to be addressed in any divorce or judgment proceeding, how they were acquired is relevant to which spouse will ultimately retain them.
People are absolutely divorced (see the “Nisi Period” section below), are legally recognized as “single” and can enjoy all the rights and obligations that that status entails, including the right to marry a new person. This means that the entire process, including negotiations to create a Separation Agreement, usually takes between 7 and 8 months for an uncontested divorce. When you have filed a contested 1B divorce petition in Massachusetts, you must give your spouse the divorce papers, along with a subpoena. .