What is the Divorce Process in Massachusetts?

  • By:Karpenski & Schmelkin

The exact path required to get through your divorce in Massachusetts will depend on several factors including whether you have children of the marriage, the value of your debts and assets, and whether there are contested issues in the divorce.

To start any divorce, one spouse (known as the “Petitioner”) must file a Petition for Divorce with the appropriate court and provide a copy of the Petition and a Summons to the other spouse (the “Respondent”). If the parties have reached an agreement regarding all issues in the divorce, a joint Petition may be filed with the court. If that is the case, the court need only approve the agreement for the divorce to become final. Otherwise, the Respondent has a limited amount of time after being served with the Petition within which to file an Answer with the court.

If no Answer is filed, the Petitioner may request a default judgment. If the Respondent does file an Answer, the discovery process will begin, involving each side sharing information with the other. A settlement agreement may be negotiated between the parties or contested issues will be decided by a judge or jury at trial if an agreement is not forthcoming.