Massachusetts Divorce Steps
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A divorce is not only a dissolution of marriage but also a phase which restores a single status of a person. It is often regarded as a painful phase where a person has to cope with financial and mental problems. But, with required knowledge and proper management, one can have a cheap and easy procedure of divorce. Generally, when there is no mutual communication, then the contested resolution is preferred by the partners. But, it takes a long time and a lots of energy.
When a married couple comes to a point where they can no longer continue their marital life, it is a sensible decision to try to reach a settlement. This can be done by availing the services of a mediator or by collaborative methods. It must also be contemplated whether a temporary separation would be useful. The couple must approach a good lawyer whom they can trust to assist them in considering the different options.
However, if none of the above mentioned methods are successful, then, the only recourse is to execute the Massachusetts Divorce Steps.
Briefing about Massachusetts Divorce Steps:
- The Plaintiff files a Complaint (request for divorce) in the court after the fulfillment of residency requirements
- The Plaintiff serves the divorce papers along with the Summons to the Defendant
- The law allocates twenty days to the Defendant to file an Answer (that is The Response) to the Complaint
- If the Defendant files a Response, then, the pretrial phase of the case begins. This phase might last for many months. However, during this phase, if the partners reach a mutual settlement, then, the case does not proceed to the trial phase
- The Pretrial Phase is also named as the Discovery Phase. During this phase, the following activities are carried out:
- Every partner gathers all relevant documents and facts and prepares its arguments
- Every partner is given the right to review the information of the other partner
- Interrogatories means that one partner gives some questions to the other which the other must answer in writing
- Depositions imply oral questions and answers that are conducted outside the courtroom
- Requests are made for documents like financial records
- The lawyers of the parties may make requests to the Judge. These are termed as Motions. As an example, there might be a motion that specific information may be provided by the other partner or a motion for a postponement of the court date. The judge reserves the right to grant or deny these motions
- If the issue of child custody is in dispute, the court might appoint a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem). The GAL is given the responsibility of determining what is in the best interests of the children. For this, the GAL executes an investigation. This may comprise of conducting interviews of the divorcing parents and mainly of the minor children. Giving a thought to all the investigation, the GAL is expected to present recommendations about visitation and child custody. In a case of background of violent behavior of any spouse, temporary orders restricting him or her from meeting the children can be issued by the court.
- It has been recorded that a majority of cases in this state get settled outside the court. Those minority of cases, which do not get settled outside the courtroom, have to pass through Trial phase. These petitions come under a type of divorce named as contested divorce. This kind of dissolution of marriage may take longer time to come to a conclusion
- A Trial is conducted in the presence of a Judge and in the absence of any jury. Every divorcing partner reveals his side of the story and to endorse it presents proofs. Witnesses may make testimonies. The Judge oversees all of the above, studies the case and after some days announces the decision
- The divorce is announced after completion of waiting period. This period is a last opportunity to the spouses to reconcile. If they continue to be in a stage of separation, the decree of divorce will be entered. Such order contains legal solutions on the conflicting matters such as child support amount or child custody, alimony, etc. if any of the partners do not agree with a court decision, he may file for a relief from such decision. That automatically restarts the case till the satisfactory settlement is reached
Massachusetts divorce steps are different when a divorce is taken under the grounds of violence or insanity. In such a case, temporary restraint orders are immediately issued by the court in order to protect the spouse and children, if any.