Divorce in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that only one spouse has to state that the marriage is over for a divorce to be granted. Beyond getting legally divorced, divorcing spouses in Massachusetts must address how they will divide their assets, debts, and belongings; whether one spouse will pay the other alimony; and, if there are children, what the parenting schedule will be, who will make major decisions for the children, and how much child support will be paid.

There are two primary ways to get divorced in Massachusetts: uncontested and contested.

Uncontested Divorce:

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all of the issues and file a joint agreement with the court. The court schedules a brief uncontested hearing so that a Judge can ask the spouses several questions to make sure that they understand the agreement and that it is fair and reasonable. Once the Judge approves the agreement, a judgment of divorce will be issued and the spouses will be divorced after a 120-day waiting period.

Spouses who get uncontested divorces either reach an agreement mutually on their own and use an attorney to draft all the necessary filings or negotiate an agreement through the help of attorneys or mediators, and then file the full agreement with the court. If you already agree with your spouse, contact us and we can help you through the process with our Flat-Fee Uncontested Divorce option. If you and your spouse do not agree, but you do not want to have to go through the fully-contested divorce process in court, contact us and we can negotiate on your behalf in order to reach an amicable agreement and help keep down the stress and anxiety.

Contested Divorce:

For spouses who cannot reach an agreement, they have to file a contested divorce with the court and step through the legal process. A contested divorce can take anywhere from six months to two years, or possibly longer, but a contested divorce can always be changed to an uncontested divorce if the spouses come to an agreement. In a contested divorce, a Judge will oversee your case and make final decisions on any of the issues on which you disagree. The spouses can use legal discovery options during a contested divorce to learn about each other’s finances and other information. There will also be opportunities to have the Judge enter temporary orders throughout the case that will be in force until the trial.

As your divorce attorneys, we guide you through all the legal aspects of divorce in an orderly manner, ensuring that the process is as stress-free and cost-effective as possible. Our singular focus on divorce law keeps us up-to-date on real estate, taxes, estate planning and other areas of the law that intertwine with divorce, enabling us to advise and assist you on those matters as well.

One of the ways we keep your expenses and stress to a minimum is through skilled negotiation and, if appropriate, mediation. The more time that is spent battling it out in court, the higher your expenses will be. Our attorneys are highly experienced at resolving difficult, high-conflict issues with a minimal number of court appearances.

If you have tried all the available approaches to saving your marriage and are considering the possibility of divorce, feel free to contact Emmanuel Dockter. We provide compassionate yet aggressive legal representation, working to move your case to resolution as efficiently as possible.

Education Center Divorce Articles:

How do I get a divorce?
How long will it take to get a divorce?
How much does divorce cost?
How does the uncontested divorce process work?
How does the contested divorce process work?
What are “Mandatory Financial Disclosures” in a divorce?
What is a temporary order hearing and why is it so important?
Why do most cases settle during the pre-trial conference?
Will I have to testify in Court?
How does adultery affect divorce?

Contested Divorce Forms:

Complaint for Divorce
Care and Custody Affidavit
Military Affidavit
Long Financial Statement (Filed if earning over $75,000 annually)
Short Financial Statement (Filed if earning under $75,000 annually)
R 408 Court Information Form