Filing for divorce once meant that one spouse had to have committed a wrongdoing against the other in order to be qualified for a divorce. Nowadays, many couples choose to file for no-fault divorce simply due to unresolved differences. The no-fault divorce option allows both parties to walk away without any accusations against them and leave the marriage because they believe that it is of best interest of all involved.
The laws in Massachusetts define all divorces as no-fault, meaning that neither person is considered responsible for the divorce in the Court’s eyes. If one party is responsible, the Court will need to know in order to appropriately distribute assets and award child custody. However, it will still be filed as a no-fault divorce due to Massachusetts regulations.
Now that we have defined no-fault divorce laws in Massachusetts, the following article from Rocket Lawyer supplements this explanation. It also clarifies the requirements necessary for filing for no-fault divorce in Massachusetts. For example, if one of the parties is not a resident of Massachusetts, it will affect the terms of the no-fault divorce.
How to File for No-Fault Divorce in Massachusetts
The State of Massachusetts is a purely no-fault divorce state, meaning the court will not assign fault to either party for the divorce if a no-fault divorce is filed. Massachusetts uses irreconcilable differences (the two parties no longer get along) as its single grounds for no-fault divorce. In this case, issues such as adultery or abuse do not matter for the purposes of the divorce itself, though they may in regards to child custody, for example.
The residency requirements for divorce in the State of Massachusetts state that:
- You and your spouse lived in Massachusetts and the reason for divorce took place in Massachusetts
- You and your spouse lived in Massachusetts and one lived in Massachusetts at the time the divorce happened
- You lived in Massachusetts one year after having filed the divorce papers, granted the reason for the divorce took place outside of Massachusetts
- You lived in Massachusetts when you filed for divorce, and the reason for the divorce happened in Massachusetts
Fill Out your Forms
When filing for a no-fault divorce, please note that they must be printed on bonded, acid-free paper. Forms to be completed by all people filing for No-Fault divorce in Massachusetts include:
- Complaint for Divorce Form: Only one party needs to sign this form, the other party will be notified by a summons.
- Or a Joint Petition for Divorce: To be completed in the case that both parties have come to written agreement on all issues.
- Registry of Vital Records and Statistics Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment (R408 Form): Both parties should complete this form.
- Financial Statement: print this form on pink paper with the second page printed on the back of the first page. Parties making more than $75,000 a year will need to complete an additional long form on purple paper.
Forms for Couples with Children:
- Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Form: This tells the judge who the children have been living with, in addition to other existing custody orders that are relevant to the case.
Additional Forms if Applicable:
- Worksheet for Child Support Guidelines: If you have minor children from your marriage, you must print this form on yellow paper, and the second page needs to be printed on the back of the first page.
- Divorce Settlement Agreement: If both parties are in agreement regarding their divorce they should use Rocket Lawyer’s easy interview process to complete this agreement, which will outline the terms of the division of property, assets and debts in your divorce. Completing this document will help you avoid the cost and time involved in going to trial but is contingent on the parties being in agreement.
- Trial Request: You can use this form if you want a pre-trial conference.
Additional Forms to Bring:
You will also need to bring a certified copy of your marriage certificate, which you can get from the city or town where you were married.
Make Copies of your Forms
Once you have filled out the appropriate forms, make at least two copies of each. One set will be filed with your court clerk’s office, and one should be kept for your records.
Bring your Completed Forms to your Court Clerk’s Office and Pay the Fee
Proceed to your court clerk’s office with the originals and copies of your forms. If everything is in order, the clerk will use the original forms and ask you to pay a fee to file. You can also ask for an Affidavit of Indigency and Supplemental Affidavit to waive the filing fees if you cannot afford to pay them.
If your spouse lives in another state or country, make sure to consult a lawyer before filing.
If you are filing for a no-fault divorce in Massachusetts, it is important to take note of the above requirements. It is imperative for both parties to follow each step fully in order to assist the process in moving smoothly.
While an uncontested no-fault divorce can help make the process simpler, it also allows the Court more power to decide how assets will be divided. Depending the manner in which one views the no-fault divorce, this could prove to be either a positive or a negative.
If you need assistance carrying out a no-fault divorce, please contact Revelli & Luzzo, your local family law attorneys. Even with a no-fault divorce, one party may choose to contest the agreement, and then legal assistance becomes necessary. In order to ensure that you receive what is rightfully owed to you in the no-fault divorce, please contact us to learn how we may best assist you in this process.
Have you ever gone through a no-fault divorce? Did you find the process simple, or was it complicated by Massachusetts divorce law?