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Massachusetts Divorce Information

The Massachusetts Divorce Section will provide a resource directory of focused professionals.  Lawyers, mediators, negotiators, counsellors, accountants, financial planners and other professionals providing all the information you will need to assess your position and take the necessary steps to successfully navigate your divorce.  Child custody, child support, visitation arrangements, alimony, division of assets and debts, while similar, are different in each state.

Massachusetts Divorce Laws

Massachusetts divorce laws for people considering a Massachusetts divorce or filing a Massachusetts divorce with issues to be resolved about child custody, child support, visitation and alimony.   Massachusetts statutes can be viewed at http://www.state.ma.us/.  Statutes cover but are no limited to the following subjects:

•Divorce Definitions

•Divorce Residency Requirements

•Grounds for Divorce

•Uncontested Divorce

•Simplified Divorce Process

•Military Divorce Laws

•Child Custody

•Child Support Considerations

•Child Support Definitions

•Child Support Guidelines

•Spousal Support, Maintenance, and Alimony guidelines

•Property Division Considerations

•Grandparents’ Rights


Massachusetts Divorce Definitions

These definitions will help you understand some unique characteristics to the Massachusetts Divorce laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title: Petitioner or Co-Petitioner-The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title: Respondent or Co-Petitioner -The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.

Court Name: Commonwealth of MA, The Trial Court, The Probate and Family Court Department, ______ Division - The proper name of the court in which a Divorce is filed in the state of Massachusetts. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website: http://www.cse.state.ma.us/ The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction: In Re the Marriage of: -The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Divorce Document: Petition for Divorce or Joint Petition for Divorce -The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Massachusetts Divorce process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Divorce Document: Certificate of Absolute Divorce-The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Massachusetts Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name: Office of the Clerk of the Probate Court - The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Divorce process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation: The grounds for legal separation are: (1) a spouse fails without cause to provide support; (2) desertion; or (3) gives the other spouse justifiable cause to live apart. The court may award support to the spouse and children living apart. If the grounds for legal separation occurred in Massachusetts, 1 spouse must be a resident. If the grounds occurred outside of the state, the spouse filing must have been a resident for 1 year. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Section 20].

Property Distribution: Equitable Distribution-The applicable Massachusetts law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Divorce.


Massachusetts Divorce Resources -


Massachusetts Specific Divorce Overview


Massachusetts Specific Divorce Articles -


Massachusetts Specific Divorce Documents -


Your State Specific Divorce Professionals -




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