Divorce Attorney Serving Bristol and Plymouth Counties in MA
What is a divorce?
A divorce is the process by with the marital relationship is ended issues concerning property and child custody are decided. Massachusetts is what is known as a “no fault” divorce state. That means that either party may seek a divorce for nearly any reason. It is not necessary that one spouse show that the other did something “wrong.” Massachusetts offers two ways of filing for divorce: uncontested (known as a 1A divorce) and contested (known as a 1B divorce).
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the couple comes to the Court with a settlement agreement already prepared. They are usually, but not always, used in situations where the marriage was short and the couple doesn’t have many assets or children. In order to file for an Uncontested divorce, a couple needs to create a settlement agreement and file it along with the proper forms at the Family and Probate Court in the county where they last lived together. The Court will then assign the couple a date to come to court where a Judge will review the agreement and, if it is approved by the Judge, the divorce will become final 120 days later.
What are the advantages of Filing a Divorce uncontested?
Generally speaking, in the case of a short marriage this is the easiest way to get divorced. A couple can draft the agreement or, through a process called Limited Assistance Representation, have an attorney help them draft the agreement. It involves one trip to Court to file, and another to get divorced.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is divorce initiated by one party against the other. In order to file for a contested divorce, the spouse seeking the divorce fills out the complaint for divorce as well as other necessary paperwork and files it at the Family and Probate Court in the county where the couple last lived together. The Clerk’s office then mails paperwork back to the Spouse seeking the divorce which said Spouse must have served on the Spouse they are divorcing by Sherriff or Constable. Once the other spouse is served, the matter is set down for one of potentially several court dates as part of a formal process which ultimately ends in a trial if the parties cannot come to an agreement. Most divorces are initially filed in this manner.
What are the advantages of filing a Contested divorce?
A contested divorce is a far more formal process than an uncontested Divorce. By filing for a contested Divorce you are able to use the Court to help decide important matters while the parties are still trying to come to a final agreement. By filing for temporary orders, the Court can decide issues such as: Who remains in the marital home during the process? Who has custody of any children? Does Child or spousal support need to be paid in the interim? In addition, by using Discovery, each side is able to be fully aware of all money and other assets each has which helps make for a more equal division. If the parties cannot agree, the matter goes to trial before a judge who determines how best to divide the assets, issues of custody, child support, and any other remaining issues. While the vast majority of divorce cases settle, a competent attorney can use the process to make the eventual settlement more favorable to his client.
How long does the process take?
Generally speaking, the process can take anywhere from two or three months to 13 months or more depending upon a case’s complexity.
What is my approach as a Lawyer?
I believe that the best divorces are those which are done quickly and efficiently. In order to do this it is very important that you and I sit down and really get to know what your goals are. Every person is different and want different things out of a divorce. After I know what your goals are, I am able to use my knowledge of the law to tell you what might be possible, what might not be possible and help you prioritize these goals. Once we have our priorities, my job is to be your voice, protect your rights and make sure we are able to meet the goals and priorities you have set forth for me whether that be at the end of a trial or by a negotiated agreement. When I craft a divorce agreement, I do so planning for the future towards the future. Most divorces end up back in court at some point during the client’s lifetime, usually over issues of child support and custody. I try to anticipate where these points may be and create mechanisms which allow future adjustments to the agreement to be made easily and cost effectively. Let me to get to know who you are and what your needs are and help you create a long lasting, well drafted divorce agreement that functions over the long term.
I handle divorce cases and custody and alimony arrangements.
I advocated for getting my clients what is rightfully theirs.
When I craft a divorce agreement, I do so with an eye towards the future.
I will fight aggressively on your behalf.