How Soon Can You Remarry After a Divorce in Massachusetts?

By Wayne Thomas

When one or both spouses come to the realization that a divorce is necessary, the last thing either party wants is a time-consuming court process, especially if one or both spouses is looking to remarry. In Massachusetts, the law requires certain waiting periods to be observed, depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. An understanding of how these time requirements affect when a divorce becomes final in Massachusetts can help you know when you can legally remarry.

When one or both spouses come to the realization that a divorce is necessary, the last thing either party wants is a time-consuming court process, especially if one or both spouses is looking to remarry. In Massachusetts, the law requires certain waiting periods to be observed, depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. An understanding of how these time requirements affect when a divorce becomes final in Massachusetts can help you know when you can legally remarry.

Overview of the Waiting Periods

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to have more than one husband or wife. This means that you must wait until the divorce becomes final, often referred to as "absolute," before you can remarry. Although couples may be in a rush to finalize their divorce, the law provides for specific waiting periods that must be followed before the divorce decree becomes absolute. A different procedure applies depending on whether the divorce was filed jointly or contested, so this can affect how long the divorce process takes. In addition, even after the divorce has been finalized, a separate three-day waiting period applies to all couples who have filed an intention to marry before the government will issue a marriage license. This can be waived by a showing of good cause and the payment of a fee, but it is important to consider both the waiting periods for divorce and the waiting period to marry.

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The Joint Divorce Process

If both spouses are able to reach agreement on the major aspects of the divorce, they may file a separation agreement and a joint petition for divorce. The court will schedule a hearing on the separation agreement where both parties will testify as to why the marriage has suffered an irreparable breakdown. A judge will make findings and issue a judgment within 30 days; however, the divorce is not considered absolute until 90 days after the judgment. In other words, it can be up to 120 days after the hearing before you can remarry.

The Contested Divorce Process

If the spouses are unable to reach agreement on the decision to get divorced, or with regard to major issues such as custody or support, one party may file a complaint for divorce. The court will hold a trial after six months have passed and make a determination as to whether there has a been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. After the court enters the judgment, the parties must wait 90 days until the divorce becomes absolute. In other words, it can take at least 270 days before you can remarry.

Effect of Separation Agreement on a Contested Divorce

If one spouse files a complaint for divorce and the matter proceeds as a contested divorce, the parties may still reach a separation agreement in lieu of going to trial. In that instance, the waiting periods of an uncontested divorce will apply, requiring a hearing in 30 days and a 90-day post-judgment waiting period, totaling 120 days since the time the separation agreement was filed.

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What Is the Least Time You Have to Be Separated for You to Get a Divorce in New Jersey?

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How Long Until a Divorce Is Final in Florida?

Although many couples want to finalize their divorces as fast as possible, couples in Florida cannot avoid the mandatory waiting periods and other requirements for divorce. The length of time is dependent on whether you can agree to the terms of the divorce with your spouse and whether or not you qualify for a simplified divorce. No matter the route you choose, you may only file for divorce in Florida if you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing.

Is a Divorce Decree a Modification of a Legal Separation As Far As Child Support Goes?

State laws vary on how soon after separation a couple can divorce, but sometimes spouses need to resolve issues of child support before a court can legally enter a divorce decree. During separation, you can decide financial, parenting and property issues in a separation agreement or through court. Whether or not child support changes with the entry of a divorce decree, however, depends upon your state's child support laws.

How Long After a Divorce Can You Remarry in West Virgina?

West Virginia does not impose a waiting period after divorce before an ex-spouse can remarry. You can obtain a marriage license without establishing that you are divorced -- or divorced for any particular length of time. However, you should consider waiting at least 30 days before remarrying because your ex-spouse could file motions with the court, or appeal the divorce, so the divorce would not be final.

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