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Massachusetts Divorce Law

Quincy Divorce Lawyer

Divorce in MA

In Massachusetts, you can either file for a contested or uncontested divorce. It is important to note that whether you file for a contested or uncontested divorce, an automatic restraining order applies to both parties, which prohibits either spouse from engaging in any activity that would affect the financial status of either or both spouses. It is vital to plan before you file!

The Quincy divorce attorneys of Sweeney and Associates, LLC are well versed in Massachusetts family law. Our firm can answer your questions and help you resolve your case as favorably as possible.

Are you going through a divorce in MA? Call our divorce attorney in Quincy at (617) 300-0212 to start discussing your case.

Uncontested Divorce Services

Uncontested divorces are governed by G.L. c.208, Section 1A. An uncontested divorce based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is filed when both parties agree they want to divorce. The document filed is called a Joint Petition for Divorce. If you are filing for an uncontested divorce, the following must be submitted:

  • Joint Petition for Divorce
  • Notarized Separation Agreement
  • Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown (signed by both parties)
  • R-408 — Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment Statistical Information
  • Certified Copy of Civil Marriage Certificate
  • Financial Form: Long-form if you earn more than $75,000; Short form if you make less than $75,000
  • Affidavit of Care and Custody (if you have children with the former spouse)
  • Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (if you and spouse have children}
  • Participate in a Parent Education Program (if you have child(ren) with the spouse you are divorcing)

The Hearing Notice

After all the documents for an uncontested divorce are filed, the parties will receive a hearing notice. The parties will appear in court that day, and the judge will conduct a colloquy of the parties. The judge will ensure that the parties have read the Separation Agreement, have had the opportunity to consult with counsel if they wish, and make sure that they are entering the agreement of their own free will.

The court's role in this type of hearing is to ensure that the separation agreement is under Massachusetts laws. For example, if there are children of the marriage, the parties cannot waive the right to pay or receive child support. This type of hearing is swift and usually lasts only five minutes. The key to making this successful is proper preparation with a skilled Quincy divorce attorney who can anticipate your needs and ensure that all aspects of the divorce are covered in a way that protects you. There is no substitute for knowledge and experience.

The Role of Probate and Family Court

The goal of the Probate and Family Court is to have the parties work out their Separation Agreement. The Separation Agreement typically governs several issues related to the separation of two parties, including, but not limited to:

  • The division of assets
  • Legal and physical custody of any children
  • Parenting time with the children
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Health insurance
  • Marital debt
  • Tax issues

Just as we do here at Sweeney & Associates, LLC, the court believes that the best outcome is when two parties can fully agree on a settlement. When both parties can agree on child custody, parenting time, child support, or the division of assets, the parties are more likely to communicate effectively moving forward.

Whenever children are involved, both parties must be able to communicate even after they are divorced. At Sweeney & Associates, LLC, our Quincy divorce lawyers will prepare all the divorce paperwork, including the Separation Agreement, and attend the uncontested divorce hearing with you as we guide you through the process.

Free Case Evaluation

Sweeney & Associates, LLC is proud to offer prospective clients a complimentary initial case evaluation. We understand that every case is unique and will take this time to get to know the details of your situation and begin discussing your legal options for achieving the best possible outcome. As we understand that the reputation of you and your family is at stake, this consultation is completely confidential.

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Contested Divorce Services in Massachusetts

Contested divorces are governed by G.L. c.208, Section 1B. A contested divorce based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is filed when only one party wants a divorce. If one party files for a contested divorce and then the other party agrees that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, the Complaint about Divorce can be amended to a Joint Petition. Once a party files for divorce, the case will progress through the courts, and the parties will have to attend several court dates, including a Case Management Conference, a pretrial date, and a trial date. If you are filing for a contested divorce, the following must be filed:

  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown
  • R-408 — Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment Statistical Information
  • Certified Copy of Civil Marriage Certificate
  • Financial Form: Long Form if you earn more than $75,000; Short Form if you make less than $75,000
  • Affidavit of Care & Custody (if you have children with spouse)
  • Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (if you have child(ren) with the spouse you are divorcing)
  • Participate in a Parent Education Program (if you have children): This is done after the divorce paperwork is filed.
  • Within 45 days of serving the other spouse with the Summons and Complaint, both parties must exchange financial information as required by Supplemental Probate Rule 410

The practice at Sweeney & Associates, LLC is to file a Motion for Temporary Orders while we file the Complaint for Divorce. The court will schedule a hearing date for the Motion, and both parties will have to appear at the hearing. On the Motion date, the judge will make Temporary Orders that usually remain in effect until the parties agree on a divorce settlement or until the court enters a judgment after the trial. We address custody of the child(ren) at the hearing, parenting time (formerly known as visitation), alimony, which party shall remain in the marital home, and child support. These are just some of the general issues addressed.

Contact a Dedicated Quincy Divorce Lawyer

At Sweeney and Associates, LLC, we recognize that not every case is the same and that different issues present themselves in each case. We take the time and patience to guide you through these issues of concern for our clients and address those issues in court. In most cases, numerous issues need to be discussed at this stage that you may not even be aware of.


If you are going through a divorce in Massachusetts, contact our firm online today, or you may call us directly at (617) 300-0212.

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