File for a Divorce in Massachusetts

Legal Representation for Middlesex County Families in Divorce

A big aspect of family law is handling divorce cases. If you are going through the legal process, our Massachusetts divorce attorney is here to help you get through yours as smoothly as possible. We are prepared to work on your behalf, offering personalized representation in and out of the courtroom. As a skilled trial lawyer, Attorney Halks understands the importance of keeping your best interests at the forefront of every action we take.

Schedule a free consultation with The Halks Firm! Call (781) 995-0107. We serve clients throughout Barstable, Norfolk, Wellesly, Middlesex, and Worcester Counties.

Types of Cases We Handlecouple sitting in separate areas of the room to symbolize getting divorced

At The Halks Firm, our divorce lawyers have experience in:

  • High net worth cases: When a couple has high assets or own properties or business concerns, certain steps must be taken to ensure the division is fair and best interests are protected.
  • Proceedings involving children: Our firm can help you come to an agreement or advocate for your child's best interests in court, in matters involving custody, visitation, and support.
  • Contested divorce: In a contested divorce, spouses cannot agree on all issues pertaining to the divorce filing which results in a more complicated and extended filing and time in court.
  • Uncontested divorce: To have an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree on all issues that a judge will review. Uncontested divorces may benefit from the collaborative approach of mediation.
  • Alimony: Also known as spousal support, our attorney can help you seek fair payments.
  • Modifications: We can help you modify the terms of your divorce after they have been settled when your circumstances have changed.
  • Contempt: If your ex is not upholding a parenting plan, support agreement, or marital property settlement which was made into an order by the court, we can help you through a contempt proceeding.
  • ​​​​​​Motions for temporary orders: We can set up temporary orders on your behalf. These orders are helpful as they dictate things such as a parenting plan or who remains in the marital home during the months or years it takes to finalize the divorce.
  • Restraining orders: In the face of domestic violence or sexual harassment that has led to a divorce, o that has occurred during the divorce proceedings, our attorney can help protect yourself and your children with a restraining order.

Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, a couple can file for a “no-fault” divorce or a “fault” divorce.

A no-fault divorce is considered an “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. There are two ways for this type of divorce to occur:

  • 1A Divorce – This is when both spouses agree to file for a no-fault divorce. It is also when the couple has agreed on the matters of divorce such as support, custody, property division, etc. This would be considered an uncontested no-fault divorce.
  • 1B Divorce – This is when one or both spouses agree there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” in their marriage. It differs from 1A though if the couple hasn’t come to an agreement on the various matters of divorce. This is considered a contested no-fault divorce.

Alternatively, divorce in Massachusetts can be filed based on the grounds of various faults. These include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication
  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • Not providing suitable support
  • Impotency
  • Prison sentence of 5+ years

To learn more about your specific situation don’t hesitate to contact our firm for legal counsel.

How Long Does Divorce Take in MA?

Generally, after a hearing is attended, the divorce is finalized 120 days after the judgement date. A MA divorce may take shorter or longer to complete depending on the circumstances and whether the divorce is type 1A or type 1B.

Massachusetts Divorce Timeline

More information on the timeline of divorce in Massachusetts is detailed below:

  • Uncontested Divorce (1A): Once the spouses file their Agreement and Joint Petition for Divorce, they will receive their hearing date. This date will be scheduled based on the availability of the court, as it is not uncommon for courts to become backlogged. Once the hearing takes place, and the Separation Agreement is approved by a judge, a temporary judgement of divorce will be issued 30 days later. After 90 days, that same judgement will become final.

That said, from the date of the filing to the hearing, the entire process may take several weeks. From the hearing to final judgement, it may take an additional four months. This essentially means that the complete waiting period will last approximately seven to eight months.

  • Contested Divorce (1B) - Once one of the spouses files for a Complaint for Divorce, a contested divorce will be active. Depending on the backlog of the court, the waiting period from the filing to the entry of a judgement should take no longer than 14 months.

How to File for Divorce in Massachusetts

The process of filing for divorce in Massachusetts can be complicated and difficult to navigate. However, with the assistance of a skilled lawyer, you can make sure that all paperwork is filed correctly and deadlines are met.

  • The first step to filing for divorce is to file a Complaint for Divorce, which must be served on your spouse along with any accompanying documents. You or your lawyer will then have to submit a Certificate of Service.
  • After this, the court will issue an Automatic Order declaring that you have properly initiated the proceedings and that you are eligible to move forward.
  • You will have to complete a Financial Statement Form, Divorce Agreement Form, Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown Form, if applicable, and several other forms depending on your particular situation.
  • Once all required forms are filled out and submitted correctly, your lawyer can schedule a hearing so that the judge can review everything before issuing the final verdict.

Common Divorce Mistakes

Whether you are thinking of getting a divorce or are already in the midst of one, it is important to be aware of certain common mistakes that could easily derail your chances of obtaining a favorable settlement in your divorce, so you can avoid falling into any of these terrible pitfalls. Given how much is at stake during this delicate time, you should not do anything hastily or without skilled legal counsel. Reach out to an experienced family law attorney to ensure your interests are protected during the divorce process.

We have compiled a list of the most common divorce mistakes below, which you should avoid:

  • Mistake – leaving wills and trusts untouched: Failing to change your wills or trusts after a divorce is one of the most common mistakes people make. Remember, getting a divorce does not mean your spouse will automatically lose any rights you have set aside for him or her in your will. If you forget to change it and pass away, your ex-spouse would be entitled to receiving a portion of your estate that you would have wanted to go to your family or a new spouse.
  • Mistake – insisting on fighting: Divorce is commonly portrayed as a battle between spouses on television and in movies. However, through a collaborative approach or mediation, you and your spouse can forego the bloodbath and avoid an ugly fight while obtaining a mutually favorable solution. Instead of playing into the cliché and getting your hands dirty, talk to an attorney about other possible alternatives to dissolving your marriage.
  • Mistake – involving the children: If you and your soon-to-be former spouse share children, it would be best for everyone if they were kept out of the divorce as much as possible. No matter how angry you are with your spouse, trying to turn your children against him or her or using them as leverage will only cause them harm. The court might even think you are trying to create parental alienation, for which you can potentially be severely penalized.
  • Mistake – waiting for the holidays to end: Oftentimes, married couples wait for the holidays or a special occasion to pass before they begin the process of divorce out of fear of spoiling the event. Unfortunately, this never does anyone any good and, instead, only keeps spouses in an unhappy marriage. Do not let the calendar rule over when you choose to file for a divorce.
  • Mistake – forgetting property taxes: Chances are the court will want to temporarily award the family home to the spouse who obtains primary child custody in order to maintain stability in the child’s life. While this might seem like a victory, it could spell out major financial troubles when you factor in property taxes, mortgages, and the cost of maintaining a home. If you think you are going to win the family home and know you cannot afford it, start thinking of some alternatives, such as selling it for profit and keeping the majority.
  • Mistake – settling too fast: Everyone wants their divorce to be over sooner rather than later, but sometimes speeding your way through a settlement can end up with you getting the short end of the stick. You can get through your divorce efficiently without making costly mistakes, but it will require skilled legal help and some focus.

Is it Okay to Date During My Divorce?

If you and your spouse have already filed for divorce and are embarking on the process of dissolving your marriage, you might be wondering if now is the time to get back into the dating scene, so you can begin a new chapter in your romantic life. After all, you and your spouse are no longer together and are probably even learning how to lead separate lives. However, technically, you are still married and dating during this time can actually have some serious legal repercussions when it comes to your divorce settlement.

Therefore, the short answer to this question is that you should not date while you are still in the midst of a divorce.

Below are reasons as to why you should avoid dating until after the divorce is finalized:

  • It can impact your ability to settle your case
  • It can impact the amount of alimony you receive
  • It can impact your parenting arrangement
  • It can impact your relationship with your children
  • It will distract you from dealing with your own issues

Call The Halks Firm to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you do not understand your legal options or what the court is asking of you, our attorney in Newton, MA can review your divorce agreement, including complicated property division and tax issues. We are committed to using our knowledge and experience to ensure your best interests have been properly looked after and that you are in compliance with the terms of your divorce. No matter what divorce issues you are facing, no problem is too big our firm to handle.

If you are looking for professional, skilled, and compassionate legal assistance, we can be reached by calling (781) 995-0107. Contact The Halks Firm today.

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