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Massachusetts Divorce Laws
Massachusetts Residency Requirements
One of the spouses must be a resident of the state of Massachusetts if the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts. If the grounds for divorce occurred outside the state of Massachusetts then one spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 1 year. Actions for divorce shall be filed, heard and determined in the probate court, held for the county where one of the parties lives, except that if either party still resides in the county where the parties last lived together, the action shall be heard and determined in a court for that county. In the event of hardship or inconvenience to either party, the court having jurisdiction may transfer such action for hearing to a court in a county in which such party resides. The divorce is typically filed with in county in which the filing spouse lives. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 4,5 & 6)
Massachusetts Divorce Grounds:
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage as provided in sections one A and B; provided, however, that a divorce shall be adjudged although both parties have cause, and no defense upon recrimination shall be entertained by the court. (A) A. An action for divorce on the ground of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage may be commenced with the filing of: (a) a petition signed by both joint petitioners or their attorneys; (b) a sworn affidavit that is either jointly or separately executed by the petitioners that an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage exists; and (c) a notarized separation agreement executed by the parties except as hereinafter set forth and no summons or answer shall be required. (B) B. An action for divorce on the ground of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage may be commenced by the filing of the complaint unaccompanied by the signed statement and dissolution agreement of the parties required in section one A. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 1, 1A, 1B and 2)
Massachusetts Property and Debt Division
In determining the appropriate property distribution award, the courts shall consider the following: a. length of the marriage; b. the conduct of the parties during the marriage; c. the age; d. health; e. station; f. occupation; g. amount and sources of income; h. vocational skills; i. employability; j. estate; k. liabilities and needs of each of the parties; l. the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 1A and 34)
Massachusetts Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony:
In determining the amount of alimony, the court shall consider the length of the marriage, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. The court may also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates and the contribution of each of the parties as a homemaker to the family unit. When the court makes an order for alimony on behalf of a spouse, said court shall determine whether the obligor under such order has health insurance or other health coverage available to him through an employer or organization or has health insurance or other health coverage available to him at reasonable cost that may be extended to cover the spouse for whom support is ordered. When said court has determined that the obligor has such insurance or coverage available to him, said court shall include in the support order a requirement that the obligor do one of the following: exercise the option of additional coverage in favor of the spouse, obtain coverage for the spouse, or reimburse the spouse for the cost of health insurance. In no event shall the order for alimony be reduced as a result of the obligor's cost for health insurance coverage for the spouse. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 1A and 34)
Massachusetts Custody and Visitation:
In determining what custody arrangement would be in the best interest of the child, the court shall consider all relevant facts including, but not limited to, whether any member of the family abuses alcohol or other drugs or has deserted the child and whether the parties have a history of being able and willing to cooperate in matters concerning the child. If the issue of custody is contested and either party seeks shared legal or physical custody, the parties, jointly or individually, shall submit to the court at the trial a shared custody implementation plan setting forth the details of shared custody including, but not limited to, the child's education; the child's health care; procedures for resolving disputes between the parties with respect to child-raising decisions and duties; and the periods of time during which each party will have the child reside or visit with him, including holidays and vacations, or the procedure by which such periods of time shall be determined. The court shall consider the shared custody implementation plans submitted by the parties. The court may issue a shared legal and physical custody order and, in conjunction therewith, may accept the shared custody implementation plan submitted by either party or by the parties jointly or may issue a plan modifying the plan or plans submitted by the parties. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 28 and 31)
Massachusetts Child Support:
In determining the amount of the child support obligation or in approving the agreement of the parties, the court shall apply the child support guidelines promulgated by the Chief Justice for Administration and Management, and there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of the order which would result from the application of the guidelines is the appropriate amount of child support to be ordered. If, after taking into consideration the best interests of the child, the court determines that a party has overcome such presumption, the court shall make specific written findings indicating the amount of the order that would result from application of the guidelines; that the guidelines amount would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances; the specific facts of the case which justify departure from the guidelines; and that such departure is consistent with the best interests of the child. The court will may deviate from the support obligation based on the support worksheet by address the following issues: alimony payments, tax exemptions for the children, minimum and maximum levels of payment, custody and visitation order, child care, age of the children, health insurance obligations, attribution of income, prior orders of support, and expenses of subsequent families. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 28)
Massachusetts Common Questions
How Do I Know if I Should File in Massachusetts?
One would typically file for divorce in the state in which he or she or his or her spouse resides. If you have recently moved to a new state and wish to file in that new state, you may have to establish residency prior to filing.
If you are in the military and are stationed on a base outside your residency state, you typically are able to file in that state or in your residency state.
If you are in the military and are stationed overseas, you would typically file in your home residency state.
Can I Use 3StepDivorceTM if I Have Children?
Yes. The system and your documents will address all the issues regarding your children such as, but not limited to; custody arrangements, visitation and time-sharing, child support, and medical coverage.
How Much Are the Massachusetts Filing and/or Court Fees?
The filing and/or court fees are not included in our fee and typically range from $50.00 to $350.00 in total depending on your location of filing and whether or not you have children. The 3StepDivorce service will typically help you yield the lowest filing fee for you because both you and your spouse are in agreement.
How Long Will the Process Take in Massachusetts?
The process takes an average of less than 1 hour to answer the required questions and generate the documents. Once you file your documents with the court according the filing procedures, the length of time will vary depending on the number of cases in front of yours. Each court has only one or just a few Judges, Masters, or Referees to review all the pending cases.
Should I File or Should My Spouse File?
As a rule of thumb, for uncontested divorces, the spouse who really wants the divorce to be finalized typically does the filing.
Where and How Do I File My Documents?
The documents are filed at your local county courthouse in the family law or domestic relations division or department. Inside your account you will receive step-by-step filing procedures.
Can I Mail or Fax My Documents to the Clerk?
Many courts do permit you to mail and/or fax the documents. This will vary from county to county and state to state, so it will be best to check with the clerk at the courthouse when you are ready to file.
Do I Have to Go to Court in Massachusetts?
Depending on your state and your situation, you may or may not have to attend a short hearing. Most of the time when a hearing is required, it only lasts 10-15 minutes and only the filing spouse must attend. The hearing is where you will be granted your divorce and the judge will sign the final judgment or decree.
Do I Have to Also Hire a Lawyer?
3StepDivorce is designed for you to do your own uncontested divorce without hiring a lawyer. You will be acting as your own lawyer and filing for your own divorce. Should you need or desire legal advice or should your divorce become contested, we do suggest you hire the services of a lawyer.
Will My Name Also Be Changed?
The wife has the option to change her name back to her former or maiden name through the 3StepDivorce solution.
When is the Divorce Actually Finalized in Massachusetts?
The divorce is typically finalized when the Judge signs the final judgment or decree. We give a window of 30-90 days from the filing date, but this will vary due to case load at the courthouse and any mandatory waiting periods.
Massachusetts Divorce Forms
Massachusetts Forms: Our question and answer technology will allow you to easily complete your Massachusetts divorce forms for an uncontested divorce. Our goal is to give you full control and make "doing your own divorce", fast, easy, and affordable.Massachusetts Divorce Forms List
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All Your Completed Massachusetts Divorce Forms
Everything in Writing As Suggested by Lawyers & Judges
Easy to Follow Step-by-Step Filing Procedures
Instant Delivery & Editing Without the Wait
Unlimited Free E-mail and Phone Product Support
Works With or Without Children
100% Court Approval Guarantee or Your Money Back
Real-Time Customer Ratings and Reviews
A total of 424 people have started their divorce through 3StepDivorceTM in the last 24 hours and 3300 in the last 10 days. The streamlined and user-friendly process, instant document delivery, and unlimited free support makes us the go-to solution to do your own divorce. Our simple and inexpensive process provides you with all your completed divorce papers in as little as 20 minutes. Instantly access your completed divorce forms after a short online interview. It is that easy, no lengthy completion or delivery times.
This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Massachusetts. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorceTM you can complete and print your Massachusetts divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your own divorce in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy. If you're not ready to file for divorce in MA, learn more about getting your Separation Agreement.
3StepDivorceTM is a premium online divorce solution provided by 3 Step Solutions, LLC, a sister company of Divorce Source, Inc., the owner and operator of the Divorce Source Network, the web's largest and most visited online divorce resource since 1997.
|A sister company of Divorce Source with over 750,000 forms processed since 1997.||Have your completed documents within 1 hour (with or without children)||Instantly print your documents (free delivery by US Priority Mail is also available).||Instantly make changes (gives you full control, the way it should be!)||All required divorce documents ready for signing.|
|Step-by-Step filing procedures (who, what, where & when)||Court approval or your money back (100% guaranteed).||Unlimited toll free phone and email product support.||Online Divorce Organizer & 40+ Self-Help Divorce eBooks||Free Online Negotiation Tool (just in case you can't agree!)|