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Massachusetts Law About Divorce

Best Bet

Family Law Advocacy for Low and Moderate Income Litigants, 2d ed., 2008. Mass. Legal Services. Online version of great book includes checklists, sample agreements and forms and so much more. Despite the title, those in all income brackets will find it useful. Best online source.

Massachusetts Laws

Court Rules


Help in Determining Which Forms to Use

Contested Divorce: Forms to File, Hampshire County Probate Court. Lists the forms needed for both no-fault and fault contested divorces. While some information is specific to Hampshire County, the same types of forms are required in all counties.

Uncontested Divorce - 1A Divorce: Forms to File, Hampshire County Probate Court. Lists the forms needed for uncontested divorces. While some information is specific to Hampshire County, the same types of forms are required in all counties.

Divorce Forms

Divorce Forms

Selected Massachusetts Cases

Ansin v. Craven-Ansin, 457 Mass. 283 (2010). Post-Nuptial Agreements may be enforced. "[T]he judge should determine at a minimum whether (1) each party has had an opportunity to obtain separate legal counsel of each party's own choosing; (2) there was fraud or coercion in obtaining the agreement; (3) all assets were fully disclosed by both parties before the agreement was executed; (4) each spouse knowingly and explicitly agreed in writing to waive the right to a judicial equitable division of assets and all marital rights in the event of a divorce; and (5) the terms of the agreement are fair and reasonable at the time of execution and at the time of divorce."

Other Web Sources

Divorce in General

After one signs divorce papers before a judge in Massachusetts is there a waiting period or are you divorced immediately?, Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries.

Divorce: Preparing for Legal, Financial & Personal Decisions, Socrates Media, 2006. Book on considerations when divorcing: finances, insurance, retirement, children and more. Requires Library Card for access.

Divorce After 50: Your Guide to the Unique Legal and Financial Challenges, Nolo, 2013. Requires Library Card for access.

Divorce and the Alternatives, Neighborhood Legal Services. Explains the differences between annulment, separate support and divorce.

Divorce Information, Hampshire County Probate and Family Court. "Let us walk you through the maze of procedures, forms and information regarding divorce. We are striving to help people who are contemplating filing for a divorce, information and forms to download to fill out at your convenience."

Divorce Statistics, Divorce Magazine. A large number of statistics about divorce in an easy-to-read format. Includes divorce rate by state, statistics about marriage and divorce and children of divorce.

Divorce Without Court: A Guide to Mediation & Collaborative Divorce, Nolo, 2012. Includes information on mediation, writing the agreement, doing legal research, and more. Requires Library Card for access.

How do I get a copy of my divorce decree?, Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries.

Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Department. Includes rules, forms, informational pamphlets and much more.

Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce, Nolo, 2012. Not specific to Massachusetts, includes information on uncontested divorce, mediation, custody disputes, child support, health insurance and more. Requires Library Card for access.

Parent Education Providers, Mass. Probate Court, May 2011. List of approved parenting programs in Massachusetts.

The Process of Exchanging Information in Probate and Family Court, Neighborhood Legal Services, 2000. Although ten years old, this handbook does a good job of explaining what can be requested and how to do so, as well as providing warning of when an attorney's help is critical.

Requirements for an Annulment in Massachusetts, Legal Zoom. Lists the grounds for an annulment, and explains why, in many cases, a divorce may be a simpler option.

Separation and Divorce, Mass. Legal Help, 2010. This is a chapter of a book written for domestic violence survivors, but the information would be helpful to anyone just starting the divorce process. Covers the basics of where to file, costs, timetable and more, with links to forms.

Separation Agreements

Checklist for Divorce Separation Agreements, Mass. Council on Family Mediation. A list of the many items to consider when drafting your separation agreement.

Merger vs. Survival of Divorce Agreements in Massachusetts, DivorceNet. There are critical differences between a separation agreement that is "merged" and one that "survives" the divorce judgment. Article provides help in choosing the one that's right for you.

Financial Statements and Other Financial Issues

Divorce & Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce, Nolo, 2010. Includes information on dividing property, doing taxes, dealing with child support, and more. Requires Library Card for access.

DOR Directive 89-3: Divorce judgment nisi and filing status, Mass. Dept. of Revenue. "Since the material (and tax) status of a divorced or divorcing individual depends on the nature of the judgment of divorce in effect at the close of the tax year, if the judgment nisi is in effect at that time, the taxpayer is married and must file either jointly or as married filing separately. If the judgment nisi has then become absolute, the taxpayer's filing status is 'single'."

Financial Statements and Financial Disclosure in Massachusetts Divorce, Atty. Howard I. Goldstein. Provides helpful advice as well as links to forms, rules, and information on other aspects of divorce.

How to Fill Out a Financial Statement, Neighborhood Legal Services. Includes information on records to gather and what to include in your financial statement.

Living Life After Divorce & Widowhood: Financial Planning, Skills & Strategies for When the Unthinkable Happens, Atlantic Publishing, 2009. Book about how to live on one income and manage your finances. Requires Library Card for access.

Print Sources

Harris, Susan. "Woof, woof, we're getting a divorce" : pet custody and the law. v. 30 Issue 3 Massachusetts Family Law Journal 30 (May/June 2012)

Massachusetts Divorce Law Practice Manual, 3d ed. MCLE, 2012.

Military Families and Divorce, MCLE, 2011. Discusses the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, custody, family support and pensions.