Online Divorce in Massachusetts
For those seeking an inexpensive divorce in the state of Massachusetts, online divorce is an easy, affordable and fast solution. Online divorce may be appropriate for couples who have an uncontested case. The step-by-step process of preparing divorce documents at Onlinedivorce.com makes it easy on you. We help prepare all of the necessary divorce forms and provide detailed written instructions on how to file your divorce in Massachusetts.
Our divorce documents preparation service can be a perfect solution for those who want to have their divorce papers completed quickly and stress-free. Even though Massachusetts has unique divorce forms and filing requirements, our online system can provide you with exactly what you need and provide instructions on how to file. We have helped thousands of people prepare their divorce documents for filing.
If you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce and want an amicable dissolution to your marriage, why should the process get drawn out and why should you spend money on lawyers? Online divorce is often cheaper, quicker and easier.
Online divorce can be a perfect option if you want to save money or if you hope to have your divorce quickly finalized so you can get on with your life. Preparing documents for divorce online in Massachusetts is quickly becoming very popular because you can complete the documents in the comfort of your home. Even if you think your case is too complex because you have children, own your own home or have other assets, you may still be able to prepare your documents online. Just start with our simple questionnaire, and we’ll provide you instructions for each step of the way.
Finally, you don’t have to worry - our process is 100% secure. We protect your information and nothing is filed until you submit the divorce papers to the courthouse yourself. Filing for divorce in Massachusetts with the Onlinedivorce.com system can be a simple solution to a difficult situation.
When you use OnlineDivorce.com, we help you fill out your divorce paperwork using a simple online questionnaire. You can fill it out alone or with the assistance of your spouse. Then, you will need to get a signature from your spouse and you can file the divorce forms with your local court. In Massachusetts, you will typically file with the courthouse in the county in which you currently reside. If a petitioner is not currently a resident, but a defendant is, divorce is typically filed in the county where the defendant resides.
The actual filing process is explained in our detailed court-filing instructions that we provide along with your completed divorce forms. You can also obtain assistance from your local courthouse by calling or stopping by.
After the initial filing, you may need to follow up if there are any issues with your documents. When you use OnlineDivorce.com, we allow you to make small adjustments to your forms as requested by the court at no additional charge. Our goal is to help you obtain your divorce with as little hassle and stress as possible using our online divorce documents preparation service.
Every state has specific requirements where divorcing couples must establish residency within the state they are divorcing. Massachusetts is no exception.
If the grounds for divorce occurred in the state, there is no duration requirement. However, if the grounds occurred outside the state, there is a one-year residency requirement stating at least one of the divorcing parties must have lived in the state for this length of time.
There are many ways to prove that residency has been established. The easiest way is if one or both spouses have a valid and in-date Massachusetts driver’s license, ID card or voter’s registration card which was issued at least six months before filing for divorce. If this is not the case, it may be possible to establish residency, by having someone who knows you or your spouse testify that you have lived in the state for at least six months. Additionally, it may be possible to use an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness form, and it should serve as proof you’ve lived in the state a minimum of six months.
Valid grounds to get divorce in Massachusetts
Grounds for an online divorce using OnlineDivorce.com are the same as they would be for any divorce within the State of Massachusetts. Grounds are merely the reason for divorce, and the state must approve them.
No-fault divorce in Massachusetts can be filed based on what is called an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Fault-based reasons for divorce include adultery, impotence, imprisonment for over five years, and willful desertion for one year. Filing under one of these fault-based grounds may become a more complicated and expensive process than filing without fault.
Custody of the child in Massachusetts
If there are children involved in a divorce, the couple will need to determine how custody should be handled. This isn’t something that a couple has to do all on their own. There are regulations in place that can help the court determine what would be the best possible custody situation for each case. If the parents already have a plan in mind, they can present this to the court, and it will be given due consideration before any other agreement is made.
The Massachusetts state court holds the parents rights equal to the child’s happiness. This means that when ordering child custody, the court will consider whether the child’s living conditions would negatively impact his or her health and well-being, and they will also look at what the parents desire.
Filing fees for divorce in Massachusetts
When you file your divorce papers, the court will charge filing fees that may vary by county. These costs are in addition to the cost of using OnlineDivorce.com. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
How long will it take?
The use of the OnlineDivorce.com service usually takes between 30 minutes and two hours or more depending on the complexity of your case. You’ll start filling out the questionnaire immediately and can either complete it in one sitting, or you can save your progress and complete it at a later date if that is more convenient for you.
Once you’ve gotten the documents complete, you will need to file them and get your spouse’s signature. You’ll have more information regarding the finalization of your divorce case once you complete your paperwork and submit it with the clerk of courts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I really file for divorce in Massachusetts without a lawyer?
Massachusett law allows people to represent themselves in any legal matter, and marriage dissolution is no exception.
Although divorce without a lawyer (also called 'Pro Se divorce') is the most inexpensive way to handle a divorce, it is not recommended for contested cases or high-conflict cases where the spouses have not reached an agreement about the essential terms of their separation.
However, taking such a DIY approach to divorce, handling things independently, and avoiding extra fees can benefit couples splitting amicably. They should negotiate and reach an agreement about child custody, property division, alimony payments, etc., and sign a separation agreement.
If the spouses need some help with their uncontested divorce, they can resort to divorce option alternatives instead of traditional litigation.
For example, if they would like to save time and effort doing the paperwork, they may take advantage of OnlineDivorce.com in Massachusetts. Though OnlineDivorce is not eligible to give legal advice, it can take over all the paperwork issues, from gathering the needed forms to completing them and providing filing instructions.
Those who need help trying to draft a separation agreement or parenting plan may resort to mediation or counseling instead of hiring attorneys.
How can I file for divorce in Massachusetts without a lawyer?
There are two types of divorce in Massachusetts. 1A Divorce is a no-fault uncontested divorce, allowing the spouses to file a Joint Petition for Divorce. 1B Divorce means that the parties are not in agreement about custody, support, or property matters, so one spouse is considered a plaintiff, and the other is a defendant in a lawsuit. In a 1B contested divorce, the plaintiff must officially serve the defendant with the divorce papers.
To start any divorce action, the plaintiff or both spouses jointly (as co-petitioners) must complete a Complaint for Divorce or Joint Petition for Divorce, respectively, and file the other initial divorce papers with the Probate and Family Court Department. Also, at the moment of filing, the plaintiff must pay a court filing, which is mandatory regardless of divorce type.
The next step of the procedure is only required if the spouses are filing for a 1B divorce. The plaintiff must deliver copies of the Complaint and Summons to the defendant by hiring a sheriff or constable (an additional fee is charged). The service process must be accomplished within ninety days after filing the Complaint.
Spouses applying for a 1A divorce skip the service process, so the final court hearing can be scheduled with no delays - typically, in a few weeks after the filing date.
How much does it cost to get an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts?
An uncontested divorce is typically cheaper than a contested proceeding, but divorce costs still greatly vary depending on a particular case’s circumstances.
The only mandatory fee is a court filing fee charged when submitting the initial divorce documents (about $200 in Massachusetts).
The other expenses, including attorneys' or paralegals' fees, online divorce services fees, costs for mediation, unbundled legal service, and more, are at the spouses' discretion.
How long do you have to live in Massachusetts to file for divorce?
For Massachusetts courts to have jurisdiction over the divorce case, the spouses must meet the state's residency requirements.
According to Massachusetts General Laws, if the ground for divorce occurred within the state, at least one of the spouses must currently reside in Massachusetts.
If the ground for divorce occurred out of state, or the parties cannot prove the requirement above, either of the spouses must have been a Massachusetts resident for at least one year before filing the Petition or Complaint for Divorce.
How long do you have to respond to divorce papers in Massachusetts?
In a 1B divorce, the plaintiff shall serve the defendant with the divorce documents (Complaint for Divorce, Summons, and the Return of Service form) within ninety days after filing the complaint.
Once the defendant is served, they must file the Answer with the court within twenty days from the date specified in the Summons.
In Massachusetts, the court does not automatically enter a default judgment against a defendant that does not file an answer on time.
If he or she does not file an Answer, and the plaintiff returns the Summons to the court, the court shall schedule a Case Management Conference to talk about the case individually.
How do you get a free divorce in Massachusetts?
Although a no-fault uncontested divorce in Massachusetts can be relatively inexpensive, it is still not free.
Even if the spouses managed to resolve all the disputed issues out-of-court and without any legal representatives and draft the papers by themselves, they still have to pay a court filing fee.
An exception is provided for the plaintiffs who cannot afford to pay this cost. To apply for a fee waiver, they must provide information on their income, debts, and liabilities. If the court approves the request, the fee shall be reduced to $25.
What papers do I need to file for a divorce in Massachusetts?
The initial legal forms required to file for divorce in Massachusetts vary depending on the type of dissolution. For example, the spouses must file either a Joint Petition for Divorce or Complaint for Divorce.
Other common divorce forms include Joint Affidavit, Financial Statement, an Income Assignment Worksheet, Request for Trial Assignment, Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment, a Divorce/Separate Support Summons, an Answer and Counterclaim,
If the spouses have minor children, they should also file an Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings and Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.