Getting a divorce does not have to be a horrible and intolerable fight. When spouses are able to come together and agree that they have either grown apart or would be better off living separately, an uncontested divorce can be filed.
Uncontested divorces are the quickest, cheapest, and most painless divorces to complete.
In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, a simplified divorce is available for those couples who are able to agree on the details of the divorce. The simplified divorce is referred to as a "1A."
Meet the residency requirements for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Prior to filing for divorce, one of the parties to the marriage must have been a Massachusetts resident for a minimum of 12 months. Additionally, the case must be filed in the county court where at least one of the parties resides.
File the Joint Petition for Divorce with the county clerk's office. The Petition for Divorce contains all of the vital information on each party to the marriage and outlines the details of separation. This document also defines the reason or "grounds" for the divorce .
Massachusetts recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault grounds include adultery, abandonment, drug addiction, drunkenness and cruelty. The selection of a no-gault ground simply refers to a breakdown of the marriage.
It is at this stage that the filing fee will be required.
File the Joint Affidavit with the county clerk. This document verifies to the court that there is no chance that the parties will be able to rekindle their relationship.
Provide a Financial Statement filled out by each spouse. In Massachusetts, this form is a requirement on all divorce cases whether contested or not. Financial Statements are a valuable tool in determining a fair split of assets and debt, while also aiding in the determination of spousal maintenance. Persons making less than $75,000 a year file on a pink form. Persons with an income higher than that file on a purple form.
Provide the court with a Marital Settlement Agreement. This document must be signed by both parties to the marriage showing the court an agreement of how property is being split between the couple.
Submit a Parenting Plan to the court. If their are minor children in the marriage, this document must be provided so that the court can see how the parties have agreed to mutually care for their children. A Parenting Plan will outline how visitation and primary custody are being defined.
Provide the court with a Parenting Class Attendance Certificate. If children are a party to the marriage, the commonwealth of Massachusetts will require attendance in a parenting class.
Submit a Child Support Worksheet. If one party to the marriage is to maintain primary custody of a minor child, the child support would be awarded to the custodian. If there is a situation involving joint custody, the amount of child support being paid could be less.
Fill out a Request for Trial. It as it this time that the judge will hear the case while reviewing all of the submitted documents.
Wait for the mandatory waiting period to lapse. In Massachusetts, it is 6 months from the day of the trial before an uncontested divorce case will be finalized by the court.
Obtain the Judgment of Divorce. This judgment is signed by the judge and dissolves the marriage. Once this is received, the divorce is final.
It is important to keep a cool head when dividing property. Don't be petty. Things can always be replaced.
Being able to file an uncontested divorce with a mutually agreeable spouse saves a great deal of time and stress. If, however, there is any doubt in trusting your spouse, it may be best to seek the counsel of a legal professional.
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