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Benefits of 
an online divorce

Benefits of an online divorce

Why Choose Divorce.com?

Divorce.com is a perfect solution for people who need to prepare uncontested divorce papers and file them, but don't know how. Thanks to effective, legit, and affordable tools provided by this platform, each person can select and fill out necessary documents in no time.

Your only task is to answer simple survey questions, so that we can get meaningful information regarding the terms of your divorce. Then, Divorce.com will guide you through each step in the process of preparing divorce papers.

Finally, you will be able to download completed forms in a PDF format, along with the step-by-step filing instructions. Then, simply print the papers, and file for marriage termination in the local court.

Massachusetts divorce forms

Massachusetts Divorce Forms

Considering that each divorce case is unique, the list of divorce papers may differ from one couple to the other. But, despite the type of divorce, a petitioner should be prepared to submit the following documents:

  • Joint Petition for Divorce under MGL Ch. 208, Sec. 1A
  • Joint Affidavit under MGL Ch. 208, Sec. 1A
  • Financial Statement
  • An Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings (Form OCAJ-1)
  • Motion for Ordering Requirement of Parenting Class
  • An Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown
  • Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (Form CJD304)
  • Child Support Findings (Deviation) Form (Form CJD 305)
  • Schedule for Visitation/Parenting Time of Minor Children
  • Parent Education Certificate
  • Motion to Waive Attendance at Parent Education Program (Form CJD 444)
  • An Income Assignment Worksheet
  • Request for Trial - Pre-Trial Assignment
  • Complaint for Divorce
  • A Divorce/Separate Support Summons
  • An Answer and Counterclaim
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Affidavit of Indigency and Request for Waiver, Substitution or State Payment of Fees and Costs
  • Motion for Temporary Orders
  • Complaint for Modification
  • Complaint for Modification of Alimony
  • Financial Statement (Short Form for Husband)
  • Financial Statement (Long Form for Wife)
  • Financial Statement (Long Form for Husband)
  • Monthly Self Employment or Business Income (Schedule A)
  • Rent From Income Producing Property (Schedule B)
  • Order for Support, Health Insurance, and Income Assignment
  • Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment (Form R-408)
Divorce forms preparation

Divorce forms preparation

How to Fill Out Divorce Forms in Massachusetts

First and foremost, it is essential to note that improperly completed legal forms will most likely lead to a case dismissal or an unfair divorce outcome. If parties don't want to end up in a situation where they have to start all over again, it is recommended to take into account the tips outlined below:

  • Review each divorce document to have a brief understanding of the type of information that should be collected and provided.
  • Gather divorce documents that include appropriate information for completing court documents. For example, you may need a certified copy of the marriage certificate, most recent pay stubs, property tax bills, mortgage statements, bank account statements, and so on.
  • Fill out all spaces with the information requested, unless instructed otherwise.
  • Proofread each completed document at least 2-3 times. This step is especially important, as proofreading can help detect any missed errors or typos.
  • Print and sign the original packet of divorce forms.
  • Make at least 2 copies of each paper.

If you have poor knowledge of Family Law, it would be better to use online divorce services to prepare filings that comply with local laws and requirements. This is what Divorce.com is designed for.

Filing for
Divorce in
Massachusetts

Steps to Consider

Residency Requirements

To be eligible for divorce in Massachusetts, it is mandatory to follow one of the residency requirements mentioned below:

  • If the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts, a petitioner must be a resident of the state when filing for divorce.
  • If the grounds for divorce occurred outside of the state, a petitioner must have lived in Massachusetts for 1 year before the divorce case starts.

Otherwise, the court will not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

Grounds for Divorce

The state of Massachusetts currently accepts both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. When it comes to a no-fault divorce, both parties must agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken, and there's no chance for reconciliation.

In turn, Massachusetts fault-based grounds for divorce include adultery, impotency, desertion, confirmed habits of intoxication, cruel treatment, refusal or neglect to provide suitable support and maintenance for the other spouse, as well as a spouse's sentence of imprisonment for five or more years.

Initial Filing

Once divorce paperwork is completed and signed, it must be filed with the court. It can be done in the county where spouses resided as a couple, given that at least one of them still lives there. Alternatively, if both parties have moved from that county, a petitioner can file divorce papers in the county where either of them lives now.

Most local courts accept legal forms in person, by mail, or through the e-filing system, but it is important to contact the Probate and Family Court to obtain information regarding filing by mail.

Filing Fees

When filing divorce documents, soon-to-be ex-spouses should pay mandatory court fees that vary slightly from county to county. The average filing fee for a contested divorce is $220, whereas people pursuing an uncontested divorce will need to pay $215. Also, it is important to keep in mind the electronic filing fee, which is approximately $25 in the state.

If the couple can't afford to pay, they can submit an Affidavit of Indigency with a request to waive this payment.

Serving the Respondent

If parties have applied for divorce jointly, there's no need for official service on the partner. In other cases, a petitioner will need to inform the respondent that legal action is taken against them, within 90 days after filing legal papers. In Massachusetts, it can be done in one of the following ways:

  • By hiring a Sheriff or a Constable to serve the spouse with divorce paperwork personally;
  • By publication or by mailing (if the Sheriff or Constable fails to find the defendant).
Waiting Period

Massachusetts law requires divorcing spouses to go through a mandatory waiting period of 90-120 days before their divorce can be finalized legally.

If the couple files for divorce jointly, they have to wait 120 days for their marital status to change from "married" to "divorced" (a 30-day waiting period before the judgment is entered + a 90-day "Nisi Period" after the divorce hearing).

In contested cases, the couple will have to wait a minimum of 90 days before the divorce becomes final or absolute.

Finalizing a Divorce Case

In the end, both parties will be required to attend a court hearing to finalize their divorce in Massachusetts. During this session, the judge reviews submitted paperwork and checks whether all requirements have been met. If the proposed divorce terms are fair, the judge will approve the agreement.

For a contested divorce, the couple will most likely need to attend a variety of additional hearings to resolve all divorce-related issues.

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Uncontested divorce 
in Massachusetts

Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

If both spouses agree that their marriage has irretrievably broken down, they can apply for a simple, cheap, and relatively quick uncontested, also known as a no-fault 1A, divorce in Massachusetts. In this case, they should also reach a full agreement regarding child custody, parenting time, spousal support, and division of shared property.

The main benefits of this type of divorce are as follows:

  • Lower costs and expenses.

Parties won't be required to spend thousands of dollars on expensive attorney's services to resolve divorce-related issues in court.

  • Faster resolution.

On average, uncontested divorces take around 4-8 months in the state, whereas contested ones usually last over a year.

  • Privacy and confidentiality.

In an uncontested divorce, all negotiations, conditions, and personal statements are kept between the divorcing spouses.

Child custody

Getting a Divorce with Children in Massachusetts

Child custody

When people with minor children are going through a divorce, they should take responsibility for determining the place of the child's residence, which parent will care for the child on a day-to-day basis, and who will make major decisions regarding key aspects of the child's welfare.

Massachusetts Family Law recognizes both legal and physical custody, and these are awarded either on a sole or shared basis. A judge making a custody determination in this state is typically guided by the best interests of the child. They include, but are not limited to:

  • each parent's ability to meet the child's basic needs
  • each parent's physical and mental health
  • each parent's financial stability
  • the child's personal relationships with each parent and other family members
  • the child's home, school, and community record
  • any history of domestic abuse or child neglect
  • any other relevant factors

If there is evidence that it is out of the best interests of the child to be under shared custody, then one parent will be awarded legal and/or physical custody.

Child Support

Child Support

Even though both parents have a duty to support their child financially in Massachusetts, it is usually the noncustodial parent who makes monthly child support payments. According to Child Support Guidelines, the amount of support depends on several factors, including the gross income of the parties, the child's health insurance costs, and the partners' ability to pay.

The judge traditionally determines minimal support costs or adjusts a certain amount of support up or down. If one of the parents believes that the total amount or the way it is divided is unfair, they can ask the court to revise this aspect of the divorce.

Divorce Without a Lawyer in Massachusetts

Divorce Without
a Lawyer
in Massachusetts

People filing for an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts can proceed without a lawyer's assistance. Given that a local divorce attorney's average hourly fee ranges between $250 and $305 per hour, a do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce might be a perfect way to save thousands of dollars.

Plus, the DIY method can be much faster than a traditional divorce, as parties won't be required to adjust to the lawyer's schedule and attend multiple unnecessary meetings to discuss the terms of their case.

At the same time, to prepare necessary divorce documents without mistakes and on time, a person must have a solid legal background. Otherwise, the whole divorce case can be dismissed in court.

Divorce.com is designed especially for these situations. With the help of this platform, you can select and fill out divorce paperwork from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is complete a simple marriage-related questionnaire on our website. Then, our system will guide you through each step of generating your divorce papers. Besides, you'll get access to a step-by-step filing guide to finalize your case, without legal help needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to get divorced in Massachusetts?

If you pursue an uncontested divorce, the whole marriage termination process can take 4-8 months, whereas contested cases typically last over a year.

Can I get a free divorce in Massachusetts?

To get a free divorce in Massachusetts, spouses should use a DIY option and file the Affidavit of Indigency Form to ask the court to waive filing fees. If this document is approved, parties will be able to proceed free of charge.

How do I file for divorce in Massachusetts?

It’s possible to file for divorce in Massachusetts either in person, by mail, or through the e-filing system.

How much does a divorce cost in Massachusetts?

The average cost of a contested divorce process can be over $12,000. People applying for an uncontested divorce and choosing Divorce.com to prepare their legal forms can significantly reduce divorce costs.