Divorce papers in Massachusetts — filing for divorce in MA

Online divorce in Massachusetts

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How to get divorce in Massachusetts

The information below will help the interested person understand more about the divorce in Massachusetts.

The common steps of how to get divorce in Massachusetts:


The first condition for obtaining a divorce in Massachusetts must be that the marriage is valid.


The interested person must comply with the conditions of living in the state


The interested person must have a convincing reason for dissolving the marriage. They can be both no-fault and fault. If the interested person files for divorce on the basis of fault grounds, he or she also have to provide evidence to the court of the fault of the spouse.


If the interested person have underage children born in marriage or property, then he or she must decide with the spouse who will be the main guardian and how the property will be divided. The interested person have to decide on the amount of financial support for a minor child, as well as the amount of alimony and the period of their payment to one of the spouses who needs financial support.


The next step is to fill out Massachusetts divorce papers.


As soon as the interested person files Massachusetts divorce papers to the court, he or she is obliged to send copies of these documents to the spouse, and then to provide the court with a certificate stating that the spouse has been notified of the commencement of the divorce proceedings. After this, the interested person will have to wait for some time until the court makes a decision on divorce, it may take up to 8 months.


If the interested person wants to file for a divorce in Massachusetts, then he or she or the spouse must be residents of the state and live on the territory of the state for 1 year. With this, the interested person must file a lawsuit in the district where he or she or the spouse reside. 

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Massachusetts

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If the relationship with spouse is broken and the only way out of this situation may be a divorce, then consider that the interested person must give the court grounds for the reason he or she want to interrupt the marriage.

The grounds for divorce in Massachusetts are of two kinds: no-fault and fault. Under the no-fault grounds it means that the interested person claims that his or her marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no chance of restoring the relationship

The fault reasons include:


Cruel treatment or violence or a hard refusal to support a spouse;




Desertion for one year before the divorce;


Alcohol or drug addiction;



If the interested person files a divorce in Massachusetts based on fault grounds, he or she will need to provide the court with incontrovertible evidence of the spouse's guilt.

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Annulment of the marriage in Massachusetts

Couples may want instead of divorce in Massachusetts to obtain annulment for various reasons: both social and religious. However, in order to cancel the marriage, it is necessary that at least one of the following conditions is met:

  • The spouses are related closer than first cousin, or the spouse of a close relative;
  • One spouse had a living husband or wife at the time of marriage;
  • If one of the spouses fraudulently forced the second spouse to marry. For example, a wife lied to her husband that she was pregnant with him, manipulating him to marry her. Or if the husband entered into marriage only in order to obtain an immigration status;
  • One spouse is impotent;
  • One of the spouses had a contagious disease before marriage and did not inform the second spouse about it. for example, one of the spouses had an indistinguishable venereal disease, while the parties in marriage had not yet entered into sexual intercourse;
  • One of the spouses was not mentally competent at the time of the marriage ceremony and could not voluntarily consent to marry;
  • One of the spouses did not come of age at the time of marriage. Although if, at the same time, he or she had permission from the custodian in writing form to conclude a marriage, then such marriage is not subject to annulment;

The most important condition for annulment should be that the interested person have not cohabited with the spouse since the moment the interested person learned that one of the above reasons exists in the marriage. If the interested person decides that the marriage should be canceled, then he or she needs to file a special form in court, which is called a "Complaint for Annulment", after which the interested person should provide copies of documents to the spouse.

After the court revokes the marriage, it can still decide on the custody of children and in financial support. In spite of the fact that annulled marriage never has legal force, children born in this marriage are considered legitimate, unless it is an incestuous marriage. Thus, the court will decide on the custody of a minor child, if any existed in the marriage. And also a decision on his or her financial support. Courts also have the right to consider questions regarding the division of joint property.

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Custody of the child in Massachusetts

Custody of the child

With a divorce in Massachusetts custody of the child can be awarded to both parents or third party, if this is in accordance with the best interests of the child. There are such types of guardianship in the state of Massachusetts:

physical custody - is the choice of the guardian with whom the child will live each day;

legal custody - the choice of a guardian who is authorized to make important decisions in the life of the child, for example the choice of his or her religion, education;

sole versus joint custody - regardless of which of the parents will be a physical guardian, and who is a legal guardian, the type of this custody gives full rights to one of the parents with a limited set of rights for the second parent. Thus, when deciding on guardianship, the court analyzes the following circumstances:

  • The wishes of the child to stay with one or the other parent;
  • Cases of domestic violence;
  • Stress resistance of the child;
  • Wishes of the parents;
  • Mental and physical health of the child and parents;

Rules for child support in Massachusetts

After the divorce in Massachusetts, state law obliges spouses to provide financial support to their underage children. When calculating the child's financial support, the court will consider the needs of the children, incomes and expenses of each parent.

Courts are guided by the Massachusetts child support guidelines, which are based on three components: the combined income of the parents, the number of children in the family, the time each of the parents spends with the child. Principles for supporting children also include the costs of child health insurance and his or her education

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Rules for spousal support in Massachusetts

Rules for spousal support

Alimony is money one spouse is ordered to pay to the other following a divorce in Massachusetts. Usually a positive decision on the award of alimony is made after a thorough analysis of the financial condition of the spouse who asks for financial support.

The judge is obliged to study the following factors when deciding on alimony:

  • Duration of marriage.
  • The level of emotional, physical and psychological health of each of the spouses.
  • The age of each spouse.
  • The sources and the amount of income of each is elastic.
  • The employment of each spouse and the potential to find work.
  • The emotional and physical contribution of each is elastic in marriage.
  • Living standards of spouses during marriage.
  • Any economic benefits of spouses that were lost as a result of a divorce in Massachusetts.

Property division in Massachusetts

Property division

According to state regulations, during a divorce in Massachusetts, the spouses must share among themselves all the property that was acquired by them during the marriage. The law states that the division of property must be fair, but this does not mean that it should be equal. If couples can not come to a decision about how property should be divided, then the court will make this decision independently after analyzing a number of factors.

All property that was acquired in marriage is marital property, nevertheless state law allows courts to divide absolutely all property, no matter how it was acquired or who owns it. The law allows judges to divide the separate property in the same way as martial.

When both spouses are related to this property, it's called commingling property. If the spouses can not pinpoint exactly who should own the property, then the court will make its decision regarding the separation.

Divorce without a lawyer in Massachusetts

If It is possible to apply for a divorce in Massachusetts without the services of a lawyer. Cases when a divorce is made without the participation of a lawyer are called Pro Se Divorce, it is a Latin expression that translates as "on her or his own". Depending on which county the interested person lives, the process of divorce in the state of Massachusetts can vary.

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Mediation support in Massachusetts

During the divorce in the state of Massachusetts, the courts strongly recommend that couples use the services of mediators, this will help them resolve all the controversial issues regarding custody of the child and sign constructive decisions.

Divorce forms in Massachusetts

If the interested person is applying for divorce on the basis of a no-fault grounds, then it can be a divorce type A1 or B1, but if the interested person are applying on the fault grounds, then this is the third type of divorce.

Uncontested divorce in Massachusetts

Uncontested divorce in Massachusetts

The divorce can be called uncontested if the interested person settled all disputes. In order to initiate a uncontested divorce in Massachusetts, the interested person needs to fill out special divorce form documents, which may coincide with the documents for Marriage Dissolution (see above).

How to serve divorce papers in Massachusetts

After the interested person filed Massachusetts divorce papers with the court, he or she must notify the spouse about this by providing him or her with copies of the documents. It has a legal term and called as serve a spouse.

If the interested person is applying for a divorce type A1, then there is no need to notify the spouse, as both of the spouses are signing a petition for divorce.

In case of divorce B1, the interested person can serve the spouse by using the help of the sheriff from the district in which the interested person’s spouse resides, the sheriff will deliver the documents to him or her personally. Also, the interested person can use a professional alert service, the payment for using which will be higher than the fee for the services of the sheriff or another way is to contact the spouse's lawyer to transfer all necessary copies of divorce form documents.

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Filing fees for divorce in Massachusetts

Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using OnlineDivorce.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.