Filing a Massachusetts Divorce
How do I file for divorce in Massachusetts?
The law in Massachusetts that covers Divorce is M.G.L. c 208.
The way you get a divorce started in Massachusetts is to file a complaint for divorce with the Family court in your county. There are two types of divorce complaints in Massachusetts. The first type of complaint is called a 1B complaint and this is used by a husband or wife who wants to file a divorce and does so without the other spouse signing the document. A 1B Divorce is commonly used when the husband and wife cannot agree on the terms of their divorce or how property and custody of the children should be setup and divided.
The second type of complaint is called a 1A Divorce and this is a Joint Divorce petition when the husband and wife have both agreed to the divorce and can work out how they want their property and child custody issues set up and divided etc.
Who can file for a Divorce in Massachusetts?
A person can file for divorce in Massachusetts if he/she meets the following criteria:
you have lived in the state for a year, or
you lived together as a married couple in Massachusetts and what happened to cause the divorce (the "grounds" for divorce) happened in Massachusetts.
If either of these two things is true, then you can file for divorce in Massachusetts, even if your spouse lives in another state, or you do not know where he lives.
What Family court should I use to file my Massachusetts Divorce?
Once you know what type of divorce you want to file and meet the criteria to file in Massachusetts, you will need to file the complaint in the proper Massachusetts court.
Every county in Massachusetts has its own Family Court. Accordingly, as a divorcing husband/wife or couple, you can file for divorce in the Family Court in the county where you live or in the Family Court in the county where your spouse lives. Importantly, if your spouse currently lives in the county where you last lived together, you have to file for divorce in that county’s family court. If you do not, the court will dismiss your case and you will have to file all over again in the appropriate county family court.
Length of a Divorce in Massachusetts:
This is the question that family lawyers get asked most often. Accordingly, in Massachusetts all divorce cases are set up a case tracking system. Massachusetts Divorces are set on a 14 month track. Meaning, that Massachusetts Divorces should be either, tried, settled or dismissed within 14 months. However, if a couple files a 1A Uncontested Joint Petition for divorce, or converts their 1B Contested divorce into a 1A Divorce, some county’s allow these party’s to see a judge immediately or within 30 days of filing with the court. There are a lot of cost saving and other benefits to filing a 1A Divorce. Contact our Office by clicking here or calling 978-566-1075.
Serving Papers for a Massachusetts Divorce:
Once you filed your complaint with the appropriate court, the clerk will give you a Summons. This document is an official paper that tells your spouse when he must file his Answer to your case. (This is for 1B Divorces) The summons should be served by a sheriff or a constable in order to make sure that it is served properly. Once your spouse has been served, the sheriff or constable will send you the “Proof of Service”. The court will not move forward with your case until your spouse have been properly served and the proof of service is filed with the court.
We offer reasonable flat fee Uncontested Divorce options. Please contact us online today or call us at 978-566-1075.
This is not meant to be used a legal advice and no attorney client relationship exits until you have a signed agreement with the Ingaharro law Office.