Massachusetts Divorce Forms

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Massachusetts Divorce Law

Download completed Massachusetts divorce forms based upon the answers you provide in the online interview. We provide Massachusetts State Approved downloadable Massachusetts divorce kits, complete with divorce instructions, to allow you to obtain a divorce in Massachusetts. Download your uncontested or no fault Massachusetts divorce papers and eliminate any divorce attorney. Click the Start Now button and begin your online divorce today.

Divorce Residency Essentials to Get Divorce in Massachusetts

If the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts, one spouse must be a resident. If the grounds occurred outside of the state, the spouse filing must have been a resident for one year. The divorce should be filed for in the county in which the spouses last lived together. If neither spouse currently lives in that county, then the divorce may be filed for in a county where either spouse currently resides. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 4, 5, and 6].

 

Reasons for Divorce in Massachusetts

There are mainly two reasons of divorce in Massachusetts those are fault and general.  In order to file for divorce in Massachusetts, the proper grounds must be established.  Both spouses are involved in establishing these grounds, and both must substantiate and agree upon these, unless the divorcing spouse is trying to prove otherwise to the court. 

No-fault reasons for divorce in Massachusetts include:

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (may be filed for either with or without a separation agreement. For no-fault divorce filed in conjunction with a separation agreement, see below under Simplified Or Special Divorce Procedures.) [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 1, 1A, and 1B].

General reasons for divorce in Massachusetts include:

  • Impotence;
  • Imprisonment for over five years;
  • Adultery;
  • Alcoholism and/or drug addiction;
  • Desertion without support of spouse for one year before the filing for divorce;
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment; and
  • Nonsupport whereby a spouse is able to provide support but grossly, wantonly, or cruelly refuses or neglects to provide suitable maintenance for the complaining spouse. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 1, 1A, 1B, and 2].
 

Custody of the Children in Massachusetts

Custody may be awarded to either or both parents or to a third party. If there is no marital misconduct, the rights of each parent to custody shall be deemed to be equal. The happiness and welfare of the child shall be the factors that the court considers. In making this consideration, the court shall consider:

  • Whether or not the child’s present or past living conditions adversely affect his physical, mental, moral, or emo­tional health;
  • Whether any family member abuses alcohol or other drugs;
  • Whether either parent has desert­ed the child;
  • Whether either parent has committed any acts of domestic violence; and
  • Whether the parents have a history of being able and willing to cooperate in matters concerning the child.

Joint custody may be awarded if both parents agree and unless the court finds that joint custody is not in the best interests of the child. If the issue of custody is contested and the parents desire some form of shared custody, a shared parenting plan must be submitted to the court. Provisions in a Marital Settlement Agreement relating to child custody will fulfill this requirement. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 28 and 31].

 

Property Distribution in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is an “equitable distribution” state. The court may divide all of the spouse’s property, including any gifts and inheritances, based on the following factors:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of the property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age and health of the spouses;
  • The occupation of the spouses;
  • The amount and sources of income of the spouses;
  • The vocational skills of the spouses;
  • The employability of the spouses;
  • The liabilities and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income;
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage [if the grounds for divorce are fault-based]; and
  • Any health insurance coverage.

Fault is not a factor if the grounds for the divorce are irretrievable breakdown of the marriage filed in conjunction with a separation/settlement agreement. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 1A and 34].

 

Massachusetts Spousal Support Guidelines

Either spouse may be ordered to pay maintenance to the other. The factors to be considered are:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of any property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age and health of the spouses;
  • The occupation of the spouses;
  • The amount and sources of income of the spouses;
  • The vocational skills of the spouses;
  • The employability of the spouses;
  • The liabilities and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income;
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage [if the grounds for divorce are fault-based];
  • Any health insurance coverage; and
  • The present and future needs of any children of the marriage.

Fault is not a factor if the grounds for the divorce are irretrievable breakdown of the marriage filed in conjunction with a separation/settlement agreement. Health insurance coverage may be ordered to be provided as part of the maintenance award. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sec­tions 1A and 34].

 

Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

The court may order either parent to provide maintenance, support (including health insurance), and education for any minor child. There are official Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are presumed to be correct unless there is a showing that the amount would be unjust or inappropriate under the particular circumstances in a case. Reasons for deviation from the Guidelines are:

  • The parent to pay support has other minor children and there are insufficient financial resources available;
  • The parent to pay support has extraordinary expenses [travel-related visitation expenses, uninsured medical expenses, etc.]; and
  • Other unusual circumstances. There is an official Child Support Guidelines Worksheet contained in the Appendix of Forms. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Section 28 and Massachusetts Rules of Court; Appendix of Forms].
 

Divorce Mediation                              

In cases where “irreconcilable differences” are used as the grounds for divorce, the court may refer the spouses and children for marriage and family counseling. [Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Sections 1A and Massachusetts Rules of Court].


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