Questions & Answers

Who can file for divorce?

You can file for a divorce in the state of MA, if you have lived in the state for one year, or if the breakdown of the marriage occurred in Massachusetts, and you have lived in Massachusetts as a married couple.

Is Mass a no-fault state for divorce?

Massachusetts has the option to file for a no-fault divorce. A “no fault” divorce is when the marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired, but neither spouse wants to file under a specific fault ground. In Massachusetts, a no fault divorce is called “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” A no-fault divorce in Massachusetts is the most common approach to filing for divorce.

How do I file an Uncontested Divorce?

Click here to read more about the uncontested (1A) divorce process and necessary forms.

How do I file a Contested Divorce?

Click here to read more about the contested (1B) divorce process and necessary forms.

How long does it take to get divorced?

The length of time that it takes for a divorce depends on your specific situation. If the divorce is uncontested, meaning that both parties signed a separation agreement prior to scheduling a court hearing, it may take up to two to six weeks to schedule an uncontested hearing with the court. If the divorce is contested, then it may take as long as two years, depending on your specific situations regarding assets, property division, child custody, and child support.

What is a legal separation and can I get one?

In Massachusetts, courts do not issue judgments for legal separation. If spouses would like to move forward while staying legally married to one another, a complaint for separate support or a complaint for support can be filed with the court in order to clarify issues. These issues can ask for determination of child support, child custody, and/or alimony. Unfortunately, if spouses choose to divide assets or terminate the marriage, these actions cannot be done through a separate support action.

How long does it take for a divorce to be final?

In a No Fault Uncontested divorce (1A), the separation agreement, joint petition for divorce, joint affidavit of irretrievable breakdown, Form R-408, and a certified copy of the marriage certificate is filed with the court. After a hearing before a probate Judge, the Judge will determine that an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage has occurred and accept the separation agreement. A judgment of divorce NISI is automatically entered by the court 30 days later. After 90 days from the date of entry of the Judgment of Divorce Nisi, the divorce is finalized.

In a 1B divorce, when a judgment is entered, the divorce becomes final 90 days later.

What is divorce nisi?

Divorce nisi is the time between when a Judge grants the divorce and when the divorce is finalized. The nisi period is between 90 and 120 days depending on the type of case that was filed (1A or 1B). After 90 or 120 days, the divorce is finalized, resulting in a Divorce Absolute.

When can I remarry after my divorce?

You cannot remarry until the divorce nisi period is over. The nisi period is the time required after the date when the court has issued a Judgment of Divorce, and when the divorce is final.

The nisi period depends on how the divorce was filed:

“1A” divorce: Not final until 120 days from the date of the Divorce Judgment

“1B” divorce: Not final until 90 days from the date of the hearing if a Divorce Judgment is entered.

What is a divorce decree?

A divorce decree, also known as a Certificate of Divorce Absolute, is the decree from the court that shows that the divorce is final and absolute. You do not receive a divorce degree from the court, but may request a certified copy of the divorce decree from the court that granted your divorce.