To file for a true uncontested divorce, you must be in agreement with everything. That means that you have to agree on child custody, child support, alimony, property division, and the grounds for divorce. If you can agree on all of those, you can file for an uncontested divorce, and you may not even need a lawyer to do so. This article will walk you through what is needed to file for an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts.
In order to file for divorce, you will need to prepare a Joint Petition for Divorce, an Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown, a R-408 Vital Statistics Form, a Hearing Assignment form, Child Support/Care affidavits, a Separation Agreement, and complete a mandatory Parental Education Program. You can obtain a packet of forms from the Probate and Family Court in your jurisdiction. After you complete these requirements, you can file those documents with the same court.
As you can see, there is a lot of prep-work that goes into filing for a divorce. Not only is it a lot of work, you have to prepare everything with the one person you are trying to get away from. The good news is, however, most of the documents only need to be filled out. The only document that has to be crafted by the divorcing couple is the Separation Agreement. This document sets forth how the property will be divided, how the debts will be apportioned, how child care will be arranged, how alimony (if any) will be paid, and how taxes will be filed. This is a very complex document and is usually best to have an attorney draft it, but it is not impossible to do by yourself.
If you can complete all of the aforementioned, you can file all the paperwork and schedule a hearing. If everything is in good order, the court will send a Notice of Trial to both spouses.
At the hearing, the judge will ask you a series of questions to make sure you have read, understood, and agreed to all the terms in the Separation Agreement. If he determines that there has been an Irretrievable Breakdown of the marriage and everything was agreed upon in the Separation Agreement, the judge will order the Divorce. After the judge orders the divorce, the court will grand a Judgment of Divorce Nisi. This means that there is a 120 days waiting period before the judgment becomes final. During this time, you cannot remarry and you are still considered married until the expiration of the 120 days.