How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

By Wayne Thomas

In Massachusetts, the uncontested divorce process provides couples with the option of avoiding some of the time-consuming aspects of standard divorce. As long as the eligibility requirements are met, a couple may initiate the process together, enter into mutual agreements and often finalize their divorce within a month. To qualify in Massachusetts, you and your spouse must be on the same page regarding all the major issues related to your divorce, including property, support and child custody.

Residency

To obtain an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts, you and your spouse must first meet a residency requirement. This requirement serves to prevent a couple from moving to the state for the sole purpose of obtaining a divorce. In Massachusetts, uncontested divorces may be sought only if they are based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship, not on other recognized fault grounds, such as adultery or desertion. For the purpose of meeting the residency requirement, if the events leading to the breakdown of the marriage occurred within Massachusetts, residency is established so long as one spouse is currently living in the state. If the events occurred out of state, either you or your spouse must live in Massachusetts for at least a year before you may file for an uncontested divorce in the state.

Separation Agreement

The cornerstone to the uncontested divorce in Massachusetts is the separation agreement. This document specifies how you will handle matters related to dividing marital property, spousal support, and child custody and support. In uncontested divorces, separation agreements are often completed before you file for divorce because they are attached to the petition. To be effective, state law requires that the agreement be signed by both parties and notarized.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Joint Petition

In Massachusetts, the standard divorce process requires one spouse to fill out and file a petition, provide notice of the divorce to the other spouse and wait for a written response before moving forward. Uncontested divorces, by contrast, involve only the filing of one joint petition signed by you and your spouse. In the petition, you indicate that irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the ground for divorce. You must also fill out financial statements, a certificate of absolute divorce and an affidavit of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Parents of minor children are required to submit a custody affidavit and child support worksheet. Once completed, the petition, separation agreement, marriage certificate and all associated documents should be filed with the probate and family court in the county where either you or your spouse lives. If either spouse currently lives in the county where you last lived together, it should be filed in that county.

Hearing

Once all required documents have been filed, the court will review your petition and the separation agreement. A hearing will be scheduled within 30 days. At the hearing, the judge will make sure that you and your spouse agree on everything and that the separation agreement is not unfair to either party. If you have children, the court will make sure that custody and the support amounts promote the best interests of the child. If the court concludes that any portion of the agreement does not meet these requirements, the judge may request both parties modify the objectionable provisions. If you cannot agree, the matter will be dismissed. If the agreement is accepted, it becomes a binding contract and the judge will incorporate the terms into a judgment for divorce. The divorce is considered final 90 days after the judgment is issued.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File for a Legal Separation in Massachusetts

References

Related articles

New York Divorce Papers

Completing and filing the appropriate paperwork can help minimize unnecessary delays in the divorce process. In New York, if couples can agree on the major issues of divorce, the matter can proceed as uncontested and avoid trial. In these simplified cases, the courts provide online access to the required forms as well as instructions to help parties dissolve their marriage without the assistance of an attorney.

What Papers Do You Need to Get a Divorce?

The exact requirements and paperwork for a divorce differ from state to state, although many of the requirements are similar. For example, every state requires some type of dissolution-of-marriage form. The exact papers you need for a divorce will also depend on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, more paperwork will be required, as the divorce will require a trial or court hearing and all the paperwork associated with a trial, such as legal contracts.

Uncontested Divorce Documents and Requirements in Illinois

Conflict is often at the center of a divorce. If a couple can come to an agreement regarding how to end their marriage, however, they may be eligible for a faster and less cumbersome process. This is known as an uncontested divorce, and qualifying requires that you and your spouse have every aspect of your divorce resolved and incorporated in a marital settlement agreement.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Do a Legal Separation in Ohio

By the time the courts become involved in a marriage, it is usually headed toward divorce. Less often, a husband and ...

How to Get a No Fault Divorce in Arkansas

In Arkansas, you do not need to place blame on either spouse in order to seek a divorce. Instead, the courts will ...

How to File Your Own Divorce Papers in Tennessee

In order to file for divorce in Tennessee, you must draw up the necessary papers, file them with a court clerk, have ...

What Happens After You File for an Uncontested Divorce in Georgia?

An uncontested divorce in the state of Georgia requires the agreement of both spouses as to property division, spousal ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED