In Massachusetts, the official Probate and Family Court time standard for contested divorces is fourteen months (under Permanent Order 1-0), that is, the divorce process, from filing to the issuance of a judgment, should not take more than fourteen months. The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has issued a standing order that estimates the duration of a contested divorce to be 14 months. However, this process may still take longer, depending on what disputes are involved with a divorce and how busy the court system is. An uncontested divorce will be finalized within 90 to 120 days.
If there is a separation agreement involved, the deadline is closer to 120 days. There are simplified divorce procedures for people who fully agree and can apply to you. That's why it's important to talk about this with a lawyer. Divorce cases can reach a conclusion very quickly or may take a long time to complete.
With the burden of cases that judges have on their plate, family law trials are usually set six to nine months after the pre-trial conference hearing, assuming that all discovery has been made and the case is ready for trial. If your trial will take several days to be heard by the court, your trial will be set even further. The pre-trial conference hearing is usually not set until about nine months after a divorce complaint is filed. Therefore, even in the fastest of circumstances, a family law (divorce) litigator will generally not see a trial to settle your case until more than a year after the initial complaint is filed.
The court will set a hearing date after all paperwork has been filed. Both spouses must attend the hearing, unless the court has accepted an attendance waiver for one of the spouses. A spouse would have to file a motion requesting a waiver of attendance before the hearing for this. The judge may ask questions about the affidavit or separation agreement.
If you have decided to end your marriage, you may choose to file for divorce. You can file for divorce in Massachusetts if you have lived in the state for a year, or if the reason why the marriage ended occurred in Massachusetts and you have lived in Massachusetts as a couple. You can find information here on how to file for divorce, what are the types of divorce, how to get a copy of your divorce record and more. At my Springfield Law Firm, the law office of Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney, I answer many different questions from clients who are contemplating divorce.
The variations of the questions are endless, but some general themes have emerged. So, I've created this short FAQ page about divorce in Massachusetts. It certainly doesn't address every question, and the answers here are general. It's always best to talk to a trusted family law attorney when it's time to get answers that apply specifically to you.
I will seek your best financial interests, whether you apply for alimony or are obliged to pay it. These are just some of the questions you need to answer at this point in your life. The law office of Claudette-Jean Girard in Springfield is here to provide you with the thoughtful and accurate answers you deserve. To arrange a free 30-minute consultation with an attorney, call 877-622-6089 or email me.
When you file for divorce, you must state the legal reason, or reason, why you want to end your marriage. You and your spouse must attend a court hearing to finalize your uncontested divorce in Massachusetts. To file for an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts, you must agree with your spouse about the no-fault reason why your marriage ends, meet the state's residency requirement, and have an agreement with your spouse about the issues of your divorce. If they cannot reach a divorce settlement, they will have to go to court after six months.
You can download the official Massachusetts forms, along with instructions, from the state's website for No-Fault 1A Divorce. Separation agreements often occur before a divorce to establish the terms of child custody, the division of debts and property, and what to do with the family home. Even if you realize that a week after your wedding marriage was a mistake, you still have to get divorced. This simply means that there is another 90-day waiting period before the divorce judgment is absolute.
If you use an online divorce service, the service will provide and complete the necessary forms after you have completed an online questionnaire. The reason for this action is the “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” and one or both parties can file it to start the process. Sometimes it is not a separate contract, but until the judge approves it, it becomes part of the divorce decree (this is called a separation agreement) that is “merged” with the divorce decree. Since this state allows divorce due to “irreconcilable differences,” all your spouse needs to prove is that they can't live with you or don't love you anymore.
If the Absolute is not yet in effect, you and your spouse and stipulate that the divorce action be dismissed. Fault divorces litigate who is at fault for the breach and determine who receives most of the property or damage based on proof of that fault. If the couple wants to divorce and is only contesting issues such as child custody or property division, the time needed to end may not be as long. Talking to a Massachusetts family law attorney will help ensure that the process is handled correctly.