Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

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A marriage is a truthful union of two people who promise to stay together for a lifetime. But not all couples find this union to be strong enough to last for their whole life. Those who fail to honor this sacred union choose divorce in order to part ways legally. This process often takes a toll on the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of individuals undergoing this process. The burden of a case can be reduced by taking aid of an uncontested process. Today many countries across the globe have accepted uncontested procedures, and the US is one of them. A good number of cases in the US are fought in this particular way. Massachusetts in the northeastern part of the USA has developed laws for this type of divorce. Couples who decide to go for an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts must be aware of these laws in order to complete the procedures easily.

Massachusetts has provisions for Fault and No-fault divorce. Both these types can be fought in contested or uncontested ways. An uncontested process requires the separating couple to sign a written mutual agreement, thereby agreeing to the ongoing conflicts. Before filing for the case, it is necessary to know the basic aspects of such a case in your state.

Some key points regarding an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts are elaborated below:

Residency Requirements

If the grounds for divorce have happened in Massachusetts, a spouse must be a resident of the state in order to file for the case. If the grounds happened outside the state, they need to reside in the state for a period of 1 year before filing for the case.

Venue for filing the case

An uncontested case must be filed in the county where the spouses last resided together. If either of the spouses is not residing in the county, the action must be filed in the county where anyone of the partners resides at present.

Forms related to No-fault, Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

A no-fault and uncontested process takes place when both separating partners can cooperate, and they file a joint petition. This is known as a Simplified Divorce or the "1A" divorce. The divorcing partners have to produce the following forms:

  • A Joint Petition: This form has the below mentioned aspects:
    • Identifies the partners and their children, if any.
    • Makes a request for the restoration of the former name of the wife (if desired)
    • Asks the court to add in a separation agreement.
  • A certified copy of the marriage certificate.
  • Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment: This form records the action for the Commonwealth.
  • A Request for Trial or Pre-Trial Assignment: This form is essential to plan out a hearing.
  • An Income Assignment Worksheet: This form is used for the assignment of income.
  • A Settlement Agreement: The terms and conditions of the property settlement are mentioned in this form and both the divorcing partners sign this form.
  • Child Support Guidelines Worksheet: In case, there are unemancipated children under 23 years of age, this form is essential.
  • Attendance Certificate: In case there are minor children, the partners have to attend parenting classes and produce the certificate of attending these classes.
  • An Affidavit disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings: When the divorcing couple has children aged less than 18, this form is used to explain the terms and conditions of visitation and custody.
  • A Financial Statement for each spouse: If the annual income of the spouse is less than 75,000 USD, the pink paper is used. If the yearly income of the spouse is more than 75,000 USD then the purple paper is used.
  • A Joint Affidavit: This document state that the divorcing couples does not currently derive satisfaction from married life and they are of the opinion that now there is no possibility of reconciliation.

Forms related to Fault, Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

The forms essential for a no-fault, uncontested case, are similar to a fault, uncontested one. Additionally, the following forms are also needed:

  • An Answer and Counterclaim: Depending on the desire of the Defendant, this form may or may not be filed.
  • A Divorce / Separate Support Summons: This form is returned with the Sheriff's return of Service or the Defendant's Acceptance of Service.
  • A Complaint for Divorce: This form is used to identify the divorcing partners and their children and to indicate the requested relief.
  • A Motion for Alternative Service: This is filed by the Plaintiff in the following conditions:
    • The Defendant resides outside Massachusetts.
    • The Defendant does not accept the Summons.
    • The Defendant cannot be located.

Although you are going for an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts that is simple and easy, you must be careful to follow the procedures and complete the paperwork in the right manner. If you are not confident about the case, you must take professional help of an attorney.

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