50 Questions about Massachusetts Divorce
If you are fortunate enough to be able to seek an uncontested divorce, one where you and your spouse can come to an agreement about things like dividing your property and child custody if you have children , then your divorce can be straightforward and relatively easy. You may even be able to complete your divorce without a lawyer. In this case, you simply need to find the required divorce papers for Massachusetts, fill them out correctly and present them to your local county clerk.
If you are a situation where you cannot come to an agreement with your spouse one option is to seek divorce mediation and for more complicated situations it may be advisable to seek a legal professional. The following information will help you understand the basic divorce process in Massachusetts, and how you can move forward with your own divorce. The divorce rate in Massachusetts is lower than many other states in the country, and has been relatively low over the past 20 years.
Massachusetts requires that either your or your spouse have lived in the state for one year before you can begin the divorce process. The state allows both fault-based and no-fault divorces. In a fault-based divorce, you must present grounds for divorce, some of which include adultery and abandonment. In a no-fault divorce, you only need to state that the marriage is broken beyond repair. Many residents choose to seek a no-fault divorce as it is typically a shorter and less-costly process.
Massachusetts has several different divorce options, each requires specific divorce papers and documentation. The third option is an individual complaint where you seek a fault-based divorce. If you are going to divorce it is advisable that you review all of the information available. The more you understand about how the state handles divorce, the better off you will be.
However, there are many of options here, so it is worthwhile to take your time and read carefully before you start completing your divorce papers. Many people find that it is easiest to get their Massachusetts divorce papers online from CompleteCase.
Our divorce form preparation service helps to identify the correct documents for your individual needs, and guides you through the process of filing them out accurately. When you want to avoid delays or complications in your divorce, this kind of assistance can prove invaluable.
Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts | Online Divorce MA
Once you have completed your Massachusetts divorce papers, you will want to print and file them with the county clerk where you or your spouse resides. The Massachusetts Court System website has a Court Locator , where you can find the appropriate court to file. Before you go to the county court, we recommend that you to call ahead to verify that you are bringing everything the clerk will need in order to file your divorce.
You will need to bring a payment for the state fee in a form that the court accepts — usually cash or certified check. In addition to the original forms you file with the court, you should make several copies of your divorce papers, including one to keep for your records and one to serve to your spouse. You will also need to submit a certified copy of your marriage certificate when you file. Certified copies of marriage certificates are available from the Massachusetts secretary of state and from the city clerk where you were married.
The final filing requirement in Massachusetts is to serve the divorce papers to your spouse. If you and your spouse filed jointly a 1A divorce , there is no need to serve the divorce papers. But with the other types of divorces, you will need to make sure your spouse gets copies of the divorce forms.
There are several options to serve your spouse in Massachusetts, including hiring a sheriff in the county where your spouse lives, or using a private constable. Since you and your spouse are in agreement, there is nothing for the court to decide. Learn more about divorce hearings in Massachusetts. It is easier to effect a name change during the divorce rather than after the divorce is finalized.
Read more about a name change during a divorce in Massachusetts. A series of questions itemizes property and debt, dividing and allocating both according to what you and your spouse have agreed to. The answers become part of the divorce documents, so it is clear to you, your spouse and the court how assets and liabilities have been divided. You answer a few questions dealing with individual retirement accounts.
You have the option of waiving rights to each other's account s , or dividing any marital portion of an account by a specific percentage or a dollar amount. Once again, a few questions inside your account deal with the disposition of the marital home. All possible scenarios are covered -- sale, planned sale, transfer from one spouse to the other, and co-ownership. A few questions in your account deal with temporary or permanent spousal support.
Rights to spousal support may be waived, or a couple can agree to a specific amount for a set period of time.
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These questions define and limit the parameters of the desired spousal support, which often terminates upon remarriage or cohabitation. The courts realize that you and your spouse know your situation better than they do, so they may approve any reasonable support amount, even if it is different from the one on the state worksheet.
Massachusetts Divorce Details
We provide Massachusetts Child Support Worksheets inside your account. These worksheets make it very easy to calculate a monthly support amount.
The support calculation is based on a number of variables, but the primary one is income. Once you have calculated the amount, you and your spouse decide if you want to deviate from it and the reasons for doing so. Once you and your spouse agree to a monthly child support amount, a judge reviews your decision. He or she will accept it if it seems reasonable. However, if it seems too high or too low, the judge will want an explanation why the two of you came to amount so much at variance from the state guidelines. Your explanation and reasons for it determine whether or not the judge accepts your proposed child support amount.
Massachusetts permits deviation from its child support guidelines when the court deems it appropriate based on a consideration of a number of factors, including alimony, tax exemptions for the children, custody and visitation, child care, age of the children, health insurance obligations, attribution of income, prior orders of support and expenses for subsequent families.
Child support can be modified based on a change in circumstances. Child custody arrangements can be modified when, for example, they break down because of the conduct of one of the former spouses. You can either use a standard schedule that we provide in your account, or you can use our option to customize your own.
Some of the divorce papers need to be notarized. The step-by-step filing instructions explain who signs what and whether a particular document needs to be notarized. The documents requiring notarization contain notary clauses below individual signature lines. As mentioned, very frequently spouses sign and notarize the documents at different times and places because they live apart in different states.
This happens often, for example, when one of them has moved or is in the military. The divorce documents are submitted to the Clerk of the Courts.
FAQs About Divorce
You pay a filing fee, and the clerk assigns the case a case number. If you want to know the exact amount, you can call the courthouse and ask. Filing fees underwrite the cost of the court system, but in the case of indigent petitioners these fees may be waived. Normally, an indigent petitioner completes a very short form at the time of filing. This form asks the court to waive the fees because of financial hardship.
If you have signed up but not filed any divorce papers, then nothing must be done. If you have initiated the action by filing the Joint Petition, your case can be dismissed by petitioning the court to do so. Normally, this can only be done by the filing spouse and must be done in writing. Read more about the Massachusetts Divorce Papers. Copyright Notice: The above questions and answers regarding Massachusetts divorce is original material which is owned an copyrighted by 3 Step Solutions, LLC.
This material has been adapted from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.