Many Massachusetts couples start their marriage with great hopes, and later realize that their marriage relationship is so unsatisfactory that a divorce is needed. Remember: When a marriage has resulted in a child or children, a divorce ends the legal relationship of marriage, but does not and should not end the relationship of the parents to the child or children. There are many steps in the Massachusetts divorce process and many avenues to take depending on your situation. The filing fee is $215.00, and the official Court Summons is $5.00.
Here is a brief introduction to filing for divorce in Massachusetts and some of the issues and concerns that you may encounter.
- A divorce is either “no-fault” or “fault”; but some divorces are filed as a mixed complaint divorce, whereby both fault and no-fault grounds are pleaded.
- In a mixed complaint divorce, if the parties reach a complete and comprehensive separation agreement in their divorce, the divorce can be entered as “no-fault”.
- A fault divorce can be more costly and drawn out than a no-fault one. This is because of the process required to prove the fault of the accused spouse.
- There are seven categories of a fault divorce: adultery; impotency; desertion; cruel and abusive treatment; gross and confirmed habits of intoxication; a prison sentence of five years or longer; and non-support.
- There are two categories of a no-fault divorce. They are “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage pursuant to divorce law, section 1A,” and “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage pursuant to section 1B.”
- 1A means that both spouses agree that neither are to blame for the end of the marriage, and they have reached an agreement regarding all the necessary issues such as alimony, asset distribution, child support, custody and parenting plan and the like. This type of divorce is referred to as an uncontested no-fault divorce.
- 1B means that both spouses agree that neither are to blame for the end of the marriage, but they cannot reach an agreement on all of the necessary issues, such as assets and liability division, custody, parenting plan, and the like. This type of divorce is referred to as a contested no-fault divorce.
- A 1A divorce is final 120 days from the date of judgement, called the Divorce Nisi—the temporary decree of divorce. It becomes final automatically by law.
- A 1B divorce is final 90 days from the date of the judgement, also called the Divorce Nisi. It becomes final as the Divorce Absolute automatically by law. A hearing will be required before the Judge for a 1B case, because there are unresolved necessary issues between the parties.
These are just a few of the terms and categories that you will run into when filing for the dissolution of your marriage. An experienced divorce attorney will help make your divorce proceed as smoothly as possible. We will advise you on how to proceed with your case in the most cost effective and time efficient manner. Call our office to speak with an experienced divorce attorney and make an appointment for an initial visit to learn your options.