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How to Get a Divorce in MA | Massachusetts Divorce Process

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MASSACHUSETTS 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE

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 MA 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 Massachusetts divorce papers 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 or learn more about the basics of divorce in Massachusetts .


Frequently asked questions

If you have questions about how an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts works, please call us toll free at (888) 665-6782 Mon.- Fri. 8am to 5pm PT.

We provide unlimited support for all of our customers starting or completing their online divorce in MA. We take great pride in being able to respond to our customers in a "human" to "human" approach (as you can see, we do not hide our toll free number (888) 665-6782). We understand the need a customer may have to talk to a person rather than the typical automated voice or e-mail support system. Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and we do not give out legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding your uncontested divorce in Massachusetts, we recommend that you contact a lawyer in your area.

Can I file for my divorce in the State of Massachusetts?

In almost all cases, you file for a divorce in the state where you reside. This means that if you are a resident of Massachusetts, you file for divorce in Massachusetts and are governed by Massachusetts's divorce laws even if you were married, for example, in California.

You must meet Massachusetts's residency requirement for a court to have jurisdiction over your uncontested divorce in Massachusetts.

Will Massachusetts 3StepDivorce™ work in my situation?

Massachusetts 3StepDivorce™ works as long as both you and your spouse agree about everything, and both of you are willing to sign the divorce paperwork.

You do not have to sign the papers together, at the same time and place, but the Massachusetts 3StepDivorce™ requires both spouses to sign.

Does Massachusetts 3StepDivorce™ work if I have children?

It sure does. The Massachusetts 3StepDivorce™ allows you to address all issues regarding children, including but not limited to, physical and legal custody, visitation and support, care, health insurance and tax deductions.

Do I need a lawyer to file for divorce in Massachusetts?

Thousands of people divorce in Massachusetts every year without hiring a lawyer.

When spouses cannot agree about the terms and conditions of their divorce, they sometimes end up in court where a judge makes decisions for them. This is called a contested divorce, and hiring a lawyer is a good idea in this case.

When a case is uncontested and both parties are willing to sign, (when you and you spouse agree about everything) filing your own divorce in Massachusetts is a common choice in order to cut down legal expenses. Read about the advantages of filing your own uncontested divorce in Massachusetts.

What are the residency requirements for a Massachusetts divorce?

The residency requirements for a divorce in Massachusetts are as follows:

One of the spouses must be a resident of Massachusetts if the grounds for the divorce happened in Massachusetts. If the grounds happened outside of Massachusetts, one of the parties must be a resident for at least one year.

Must I prove that I am a resident of Massachusetts in order to file for my divorce?

Yes. The divorce paperwork requires a signed authentication that you have been a resident of Massachusetts for at least a year.

This is a state law.

Signing false statements is perjury.

If the court requires proof for some reason, typically a Massachusetts driver's license or state identification is sufficient. An affidavit of a corroborating witness testifying about your residency also works.

What if my spouse does not live in Massachusetts?

Your spouse does not need to live in Massachusetts to use 3StepDivorce™. After you have printed all the divorce paperwork, you simply mail the documents to your spouse and he or she signs them. After your spouse returns them, you file in your local county court.

Very often divorcing spouses live in different states.

What are the grounds for filing a divorce in Massachusetts?

The grounds for divorce in Massachusetts are as follows:

No-Fault: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, filed in one of two ways: 1) in conjunction with the Massachusetts simplified divorce procedure which requires one of the following: a) petition signed by both spouses jointly or by their attorneys; b) a sworn affidavit that is executed jointly or separately by the petitioners that an irretrievable breakdown exists; c) a notarized separation agreement executed by the parties; or 2) with a signed statement and dissolution agreement.

Fault: 1) adultery, 2) impotence, 3) utter desertion for one year prior to filing the complaint, 4) gross and habitual habits of intoxication caused by alcohol or drug addiction, 5) cruel and inhuman treatment, or 6) nonsupport "whereby a spouse is able to provide support but grossly, wantonly and cruelly refuses or neglects to provide suitable maintenance for the complaining spouse."

How long does a divorce take in Massachusetts?

Once the divorce paperwork has been filed in court, it usually takes 90 days for a divorce in MA to be final. The start to finish time of the divorce may vary depending on the caseload of the court and the availability of judges to sign the final Certificate of Absolute Divorce.

3StepDivorce™ saves time because all lengthy delivery times are eliminated when you print your documents from your computer. You control revisions and reprintings as necessary.

Do I have to appear in court?

In Massachusetts, a divorce hearing is required. If there are children involved, a short hearing, generally about 15 minutes, gives the court an opportunity to make certain that you understand the parameters of custody, visitation and support that are ordered as part of your divorce.

If there are no children, the hearing process in very streamlined. Since you and your spouse are in agreement, there is nothing for the court to decide. Learn more about divorce hearings in Massachusetts

After my divorce, how long do I have to wait in Massachusetts before I can remarry?

There is no mandatory waiting period in Massachusetts.

Does Massachusetts permit a name change as part of the divorce?

Yes. 3StepDivorce™ includes a protocol for the wife to take back her former or birth name as part of the filing. It is easier to effect a name change during the divorce rather than after the divorce is finalized. Read more about a name change during a divorce in Massachusetts.

Does Massachusetts 3StepDivorce& #8482; address the division of our property and debt?

Separate and marital property and debt is identified and addressed in your 3StepDivorce™ account. A series of questions itemizes property and debt, dividing and allocating both according to what you and your spouse have agreed to. The answers become part of the divorce documents, so it is clear to you, your spouse and the court how assets and liabilities have been divided.

Will I be able to address our retirement accounts?

Yes. You answer a few questions dealing with individual retirement accounts. You have the option of waiving rights to each other's account(s), or dividing any marital portion of an account by a specific percentage or a dollar amount.

What about the marital home?

Once again, a few questions inside your account deal with the disposition of the marital home. All possible scenarios are covered -- sale, planned sale, transfer from one spouse to the other, and co-ownership.

Will I be able to address spousal support?

A few questions in your account deal with temporary or permanent spousal support. Rights to spousal support may be waived, or a couple can agree to a specific amount for a set period of time. These questions define and limit the parameters of the desired spousal support, which often terminates upon remarriage or cohabitation.

Does Massachusetts require child support?

Massachusetts requires that a support order be put in place for all minor children.

3StepDivorce™ provides the Massachusetts Child Support Guideline Worksheet, so you can easily calculate the state's recommendation for monthly support, but you have the option of taking these recommendations under advisement. The courts realize that you and your spouse know your situation better than they do, so they may approve any reasonable support amount, even if it is different from the one on the state worksheet.

How do I calculate how much child support I owe?

We provide Massachusetts Child Support Worksheets inside your account. These worksheets make it very easy to calculate a monthly support amount. The support calculation is based on a number of variables, but the primary one is income.

Once you have calculated the amount, you and your spouse decide if you want to deviate from it and the reasons for doing so.

Can I deviate from the Massachusetts child support guideline?

Yes. Once you and your spouse agree to a monthly child support amount, a judge reviews your decision. He or she will accept it if it seems reasonable. However, if it seems too high or too low, the judge will want an explanation why the two of you came to amount so much at variance from the state guidelines. Your explanation and reasons for it determine whether or not the judge accepts your proposed child support amount.

How do I know when I can deviate from the Massachusetts child support guidelines?

Massachusetts permits deviation from its child support guidelines when the court deems it appropriate based on a consideration of a number of factors, including alimony, tax exemptions for the children, custody and visitation, child care, age of the children, health insurance obligations, attribution of income, prior orders of support and expenses for subsequent families.

In Massachusetts, can child support be modified after the divorce?

Yes. Child support can be modified based on a change in circumstances. In Massachusetts, a change in circumstances means "a significant change in circumstances," generally, changes "not considered when the original judgment was entered" that are "permanent and substantial" and/or "affect one's current standard of living."

In Massachusetts, can child custody arrangements be modified after the divorce?

Yes. Child custody arrangements can be modified when, for example, they break down because of the conduct of one of the former spouses.

Can we customize our child custody arrangements?

Yes. The terms and conditions of both sole and joint/shared custody are defined by you and your spouse.

Can we specify our visitation/parenting time schedule?

Yes. You can either use a standard schedule that we provide in your account, or you can use our option to customize your own.

In Massachusetts, do any or all of the divorce documents need to be notarized?

Yes. Some of the divorce papers need to be notarized. The step-by-step filing instructions explain who signs what and whether a particular document needs to be notarized. The documents requiring notarization contain notary clauses below individual signature lines.

Do my spouse and I have to sign and/or notarize the documents at the same time and/or place?

No. If desired, each of you may sign and/or notarize a document at a different time and/or place.

As mentioned, very frequently spouses sign and notarize the documents at different times and places because they live apart in different states. This happens often, for example, when one of them has moved or is in the military.

In Massachusetts, where do I file?

In Massachusetts, the divorce papers are filed in the Trial Court, the Probate and Family Court Department ____________, Division, which is the local county courthouse, where the Domestic Relations or Family Law department accepts the divorce filing. The divorce documents are submitted to the Clerk of the Courts. You pay a filing fee, and the clerk assigns the case a case number.

What is the filing fee in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the fees may vary by county, but roughly the fees are about $215. If you want to know the exact amount, you can call the courthouse and ask.

Filing fees underwrite the cost of the court system, but in the case of indigent petitioners these fees may be waived.

How can the fees be waived?

Normally, an indigent petitioner completes a very short form at the time of filing. This form asks the court to waive the fees because of financial hardship.

Can I stop a divorce in Massachusetts once I sign up?

Yes. If you have signed up but not filed any divorce papers, then nothing must be done. If you have initiated the action by filing the Joint Petition, your case can be dismissed by petitioning the court to do so. Normally, this can only be done by the filing spouse and must be done in writing.

Often the clerk of the court can help a person remove a case from the court docket.

What documents do I receive with my Massachusetts 3StepDivorce™ account?

The Massachusetts 3StepDivorce™ includes the following documents:

- Massachusetts Filing Instructions
- Massachusetts Printing Instructions
- Joint Affidavit Under M.G.L., Ch. 208, Sec. 1A
- Joint Petition for Divorce Under M.G.L., Ch. 208, Sec. 1A
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Schedule for Visitation/Parenting Time of Minor Children
- Child Support Guidelines and Worksheet
- Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings
- Motion for Ordering Requirement of Parenting Class
- Financial Statement (Short Form for Wife)
- 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
- Request for Trial-Pre-Trial Assignment
- Certificate of Absolute Divorce (Chap. 208, Sec. 46 G.L.)

Read more about the Massachusetts Divorce Papers

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