Divorce in Massachusetts

Bay State law provides four kinds of divorce


Many family-relations experts and legal authorities agree that making the painful decision to end an marriage should be aided by a caring, competent attorney, as well as a professional counselor or spiritual adviser: Many divorcees report emotional trauma at or near the level of a death in the family.

Furthermore, if domestic violence is involved, authorities agree that must be the first issue to be addressed.

Domestic violence

According to this public safety Web page, in Massachusetts there “is more help available to you (and your children) than ever before. You, and only you, can make the decision to change or permanently end the abusive relationship you endure on a daily basis. No one deserves to be abused.”  Several good links are provided, as well as phone numbers for 24-hour counseling, support and advocacy services. Another link is “Massachusetts Law About Domestic Violence.”

The Massachusetts Trial Court’s FAQ addresses divorcing without a lawyer and explains the kinds of divorce available in the Bay State:

Can I get a divorce without a lawyer in Massachusetts?

While it is usually best to enlist the aid of an attorney when seeking a divorce, especially when there are children and assets involved or you have trouble communicating with your spouse, it is still possible to obtain a divorce without an attorney.

There are different types of divorce — (1) “uncontested fault,” (2) “uncontested no-fault,” (3) “contested fault,” and (4) “contested no-fault” — and you will need to determine which is applicable to your situation in order to proceed. You might want to take a look at HOW TO FILE FOR DIVORCE IN MASSACHUSETTS (Self-Help Law Kit with Forms), 3rd edition, by Sharyn T. Sooho and Steven L. Fuchs, Esqs. (Sphinx Publishing, 2001). Also, you might want to take a look at MASSACHUSETTS DIVORCE: a Consumer Guide, 2nd edition, by Wendy Sibbison, Esq. (MCLE 1996). Either or both might be an excellent place to start and you can find them through any of the commonwealth’s 17 free public Trial Court Law Libraries.

You also might want to check Law About Divorce for useful links to information and forms.

Residency requirements

This Massachusetts Court System Web page says, “An action for divorce must be filed in the probate court in the county where either party lives, however, if either party resides in the county where the parties last lived together, then the action must be filed in the county where the parties last lived together.”

Where do I file?

Click here for a list of links to the filing sites for various cities and towns.

Free evaluation

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