Divorce in Boston and the benefits of a Divorce Attorney
Anyone going through the process of filing for divorce knows just how difficult it can be. You will have to make hard choices that affect the rest of your life. If you have children, you will have to make decisions that affect their lives as well. Facing these choices can make the process of getting a divorce one of the most stressful times in your life.
You want a Boston Divorce Attorney on your side who can help you create a comprehensive plan to move forward and protect your future. The choices you make now will affect you and your children’s lives for many years. At the Law Offices of Boston Divorce Attorney Marcel J. Murad, we believe that a successful divorce is defined in the long term.
Actions for divorce in Massachusetts are controlled by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208. Under M.G.L. Chapter 208, a divorce can be had for adultery, impotence, desertion, drunkenness, drug addiction, cruel and abusive treatment, refusal to support the other spouse or for an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Although any one of these reasons would be grounds for divorce, the great majority of divorces in Massachusetts are granted based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, of which there are 2 types: a joint petition for divorce or a contested divorce. This process can be made much more simple by hiring a Divorce Lawyer
In order to file an action for divorce in Massachusetts, at least one of the parties must have lived in Massachusetts for one year prior to the filing for divorce, or the cause of the divorce must have occurred in Massachusetts.
The first way to file for divorce is what’s called a “contested divorce”, where one party files a complaint for divorce against the other, the other party is served by a constable and they can go into court for Temporary Orders, to determine things such as custody, child support, alimony, payment of bills, etc. prior to the finalization of the divorce. The parties can reach a full agreement to settle the case at any time. Discovery, or the exchange of financial information, will more than likely need to be done to determine the accurate values of assets and liabilities. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the case would be scheduled for trial for a judge to decide any outstanding issues. Having a Divorce Attorney in either situation will be beneficial.
Contested Divorce (M.G.L. Chapter 208, Section 1B)
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on divorce, then a contested divorce (known as a 1B divorce) is the likely path of divorce for you. A contested divorce involves one spouse filing a complaint for divorce against the other spouse. Contested divorces take longer, are more complicated and are generally more stressful than a 1A divorce. If you have any questions about contested divorce, contact a Divorce Attorney
The parties may still come to an agreement and file a separation agreement with the court, thereby converting a contested divorce into an uncontested divorce. However, if an agreement cannot be attained the parties will normally be forced into a procedure called discovery, whereby the parties investigate each other’s finances, among other things, and present this information to the court during a trial.
After trial, the judge enters a Judgment of Divorce, which describes the court’s decision on the division of assets and debts, payment of alimony and child support, if any, and declares the parties divorced.
Joint Petition for Divorce (M.G.L. Chapter 208, Section 1A)
The other way to file for divorce in Massachusetts in called “uncontested” or “Joint Petition”. This is where the parties choose to file a complaint for divorce or a Joint Petition together. Typically in this instance, the parties will reach a full agreement on their own or with the assistance of counsel or a mediator. The agreement is filed with the joint petition for divorce. Discovery will often need to be done in uncontested divorces as well, just to ensure the parties are dividing their assets appropriately. Hiring a divorce attorney can make this process much smoother.
A joint petition for divorce (known as a 1A divorce) is the easiest and simplest path to divorce, with one caveat: the parties must agree to everything!
In order to be divorced under Section 1A, the parties must file with the Court an affidavit attesting to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, along with a separation agreement and financial statement, detailing the assets and debts of each spouse. A separation agreement is a written agreement in which parties agree to the division of assets, including real estate and personal property, the division of debt, alimony (if any); health insurance coverage with respect to each of the parties and, if there are children born during the marriage, child visitation and child support.
The parties fill out a form easily obtained from the Court clerk’s office. The form requests information such as where and when the parties were married, where they last lived together and what type of relief they are requesting. This form is filed, along with the filing fee, an original copy of the marriage certificate, affidavit of irretrievable breakdown, separation agreement and financial statement. Some courts allow the parties to be divorced the same day the petition is filed, while others assign a date for hearing within 3 or 4 months of filing the Petition, depending on the Court’s caseload.
At the hearing of divorce, the judge will ask questions of the parties to determine whether or not the separation agreement is fair and reasonable. If he or she determines that it is, a Judgment of Divorce shall be entered.
Hiring a Divorce Attorney
If you are in need of an experienced Divorce Attorney, contact Boston Divorce Attorney Jeff Murad today and schedule your consultation at 617-227-4648.