Divorce is rarely easy, but in certain states, within the U.S. the process can be drawn-out and quite public. Fortunately, Massachusetts has divorce laws in place ensuring that in many cases neither spouse needs to be publicly blamed for the breakdown of the marriage, and the waiting period before a divorce is relatively brief. But even with these advantages, there are still a few tips that may help you when coping with the often-overwhelming process.
- Don’t make the process more intense than it needs to be. Massachusetts is a “no fault” divorce state. That means that neither of you has to accuse the other of something like alcoholism or adultery unless your attorney those factors are relevant. Otherwise, Massachusetts allows “irretrievable breakdown,” or no-fault, as an acceptable reason to grant a divorce.
- Double-check the residency requirements. This especially holds true for the spouse filing the divorce petition, because he or she needs to have lived in Massachusetts for at least one year. If that issue isn’t relevant, you’ll need to meet at least one other residency requirement, such as part of your marriage having taken place while living in Massachusetts.
- Factor the waiting period into your plans. If you are filing a no-fault divorce, which is the most common type, Massachusetts requires a 90 day waiting period before the divorce is finalized. Obviously, plans such as remarriage or which depend on a settled marital status need to scheduled for after this waiting period.
- Keep in mind that the ninety day waiting period is sometimes waived. This is especially true in an “at fault” divorce in which the petitioning spouse can prove grounds for needing the marriage terminated quickly. Acceptable grounds for divorce in Massachusetts include conviction of a crime, adultery, and desertion.
- Try to come to an agreement with your co-parent about factors such as schooling and special education agreements. Even if you have joint legal custody, often the parent who “gets there first” in terms of signing or invalidating an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with your child’s school will be all that matters under Massachusetts law. Putting in the effort during the divorce process to come to an agreement about joint decisions will do much to keep your child thriving in his or her school.
- Make sure your own legal representation is solid. Even no-fault divorces can be contested, especially when there is a disagreement concerning custody, financial support, or joint property. Rather than trying to fight with an uncooperative spouse, or pulling in third parties such as the school system or family members, contact an experienced divorce and family law attorney. The firm will be able to keep the process as non-confrontational as possible, allowing you to lay the groundwork for future cooperation.