Divorce can be a challenging process, both emotionally and financially. However, an uncontested divorce can be a more straightforward and less expensive way to end a marriage. In Massachusetts, couples can pursue an uncontested divorce if they can agree on all the important issues. In this article, we will explore the process and benefits of uncontested divorce in Massachusetts.
Defining Uncontested Divorce:
Uncontested divorce is a process in which both spouses agree to end their marriage and resolve all issues without the need for a trial. The couple must mutually agree on all aspects of the divorce, such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support, also known as alimony.
Benefits of Uncontested Divorce:
One of the primary benefits of an uncontested divorce is that it is typically much less expensive than a contested divorce. Additionally, an uncontested divorce can be finalized much more quickly, allowing both parties to move on with their lives.
The Process of Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts:
The first step in an uncontested divorce is to file a joint petition for divorce with the court. This petition must include a separation agreement that outlines the agreement between the spouses on all issues. The separation agreement must also meet certain legal requirements outlined in Massachusetts law.
The court will then review the joint petition and may require both parties to attend a hearing to finalize the divorce. The court may ask questions to ensure that both parties understand the terms of the separation agreement and that the agreement is fair and reasonable.
After the hearing, the court will issue a final judgment of divorce, and both parties will be legally divorced.
Working with an Attorney:
Although an uncontested divorce may seem simple, it is still important to work with an attorney. A divorce attorney can help ensure that the separation agreement complies with Massachusetts law and that both parties are protected. An attorney can also help negotiate terms if an agreement cannot be initially reached.
An uncontested divorce can be a beneficial option for couples who are able to work together to end their marriage. By avoiding a court battle, both parties can save time and money and move on with their lives more quickly. If considering an uncontested divorce, reach out to a family law attorney to ensure the process runs smoothly and in compliance with Massachusetts law.
How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts
Step 1: Deciding if an Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts is Appropriate
An uncontested divorce in Massachusetts can be defined as one in which both spouses agree to get divorced and how to live after getting divorced, as in how to split property and debt and how children will be treated if children were or will be a result of the marriage.
Step 2: Filing for Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts
Many forms are necessary at the outset if you wish to file for an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts. Those forms may include:
• A Joint Petition for Divorce, in which the civil action desired is named. Find it here:
• A Divorce or Annulment Certification Vital Statistics form, which is used for record-keeping purposes. Find it here:
• A Separation Agreement, signed by each party, concerning the distribution of property and all other post-marital issues.
• A Trial Request Form, in which the spouse asks for the judge to hear their pleadings.
• Financial Statements completed separately. They can be found here:
• Worksheet for Child Support Guidelines, in which individual works through the income data required to calculate a child support order. Use it here:
• Affidavit Disclosing Child Custody, also called a Parenting Plan.
• Application to the Child Support Enforcement Services (called DOR), the organization which oversees the payment of support.
Couples with children are also required to the PACT Program, which stands for Parents and Children in Transition.
A certificate of completion must be presented for it by the time of the divorce hearing.
Step 3: Presenting Your Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts
If one of the main benefits of an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts is that you don’t have to stand trial, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to appear in front of the court.
In fact, for the divorce to become final, a hearing will have to be held in which a judge will look over the facts of your case and your plans for the future and approve it if it sounds satisfactory.
You will need to print several new forms about your uncontested divorce in Massachusetts for the hearing.
They include the completed and signed Financial Statements from both spouses and your written Separation Agreement.
If you have children, you will also need to bring completed a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, a wage assignment, and a Department of Revenue Application.
After the judge asks you a few questions attempting to decipher whether the uncontested divorce in Massachusetts is fair to both parties, your agreement should be approved.
Assuming that you filed a 1A Joint Petition for Divorce, you’ll receive a form called Findings and Order, and only after about a month will you receive the Judgment of Divorce, making your separation final and irrevocable.