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Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

How to file a no-fault divorce in Massachusetts?

Being the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriages, family law in Massachusetts is among the most progressive in the nation. However, statistics state that as many as nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. The dissolution of a marriage can be an emotionally taxing affair and a stressful time for all parties involved.

Nonetheless, there are instances when the decision to file for a divorce is mutually agreed upon. Unlike a contested divorce proceeding, the separation involves both parties being in complete agreement with each other on all matters subsequent to the divorce proceeding.

Such separations are termed a no-fault divorce. In the course of a no-fault divorce, the couple or their attorneys are required to first sign a joint petition for divorce, as well as a joint affidavit of irretrievable breakdown. Along with those, a certified copy of the civil marriage certificate, which can be obtained from the Registry of Vital Records, must also be filed.

Vital to the process of filing for a no-fault divorce is the notarized separation agreement, which needs to be signed by both parties. The separation agreement is akin to a contract in which both partners lay down details pertaining to the division and distribution of assets, spousal maintenance, child support and custody matters.

A separation agreement signed by both parties can be a binding contract, something which stays in effect after the divorce. In other instances, a judge can choose to approve it thereby making it a part of the divorce judgment. Finally, to complete the process, certificate of absolute divorce and necessary financial records need to be filed with the other documents.

Source: Mass.gov, "What Forms Do I File for Divorce?," accessed on Jan. 1, 2015

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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