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Divorce in Massachusetts: The residency requirement

If you have decided to end your marriage, you should expect to deal with the technical requirements of a divorce. Before filing for one, you have a handful of things to consider, one of which is the residency requirement of your state.

Under Massachusetts laws, at least one of the parties must be a resident of the state in order to file for divorce. There are several details about this requirement you should take note of, including the following:

How long should the residency be?

When filing for divorce in Massachusetts, where the cause of the divorce occurs matters. If the cause occurred in the state, there is no minimum residency required. On the other hand, if the reason for the divorce happened outside the state, the spouse seeking dissolution should be a resident of the Bay State at least one year prior to filing the petition.

Does the 1-year period have to be continuous?

Yes. Based on past decisions, family courts in Massachusetts require the petitioning party to have actual and continuous residence in the state at least 12 months immediately before filing the petition for divorce.

Is moving to the state to obtain a divorce acceptable?

No. If the court finds that the party seeking a divorce moved to Massachusetts for the sole purpose of filing and obtaining a divorce, it will likely disfavor the petitioner or deny the petition.

Facing the daunting process head-on

Divorce takes time and effort, starting from clearing the initial requirements down to dealing with divorce issues during court proceedings. It can be overwhelming at first, but with sufficient preparation and adequate advice, you can focus on securing your rights and interests.