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File for a no-fault 1B divorce

File a 1B divorce when one spouse believes the marriage has ended or both spouses believe the marriage has ended but they aren't in agreement about custody, support, or marital property issues. This is called a contested no-fault divorce.

Probate and Family Court locations

The Details of File for a no-fault 1B divorce

What you need for File for a no-fault 1B divorce

You can file for divorce in Massachusetts if:

  • You’ve lived in the state for 1 year, or
  • The reason the marriage ended happened in Massachusetts and you’ve lived in Massachusetts as a couple

In addition to the required court forms, you need a certified copy of your civil marriage certificate. This is available from the Registry of Vital Records or from the city or town hall where you applied for a marriage license.

To begin, you need to file:

  1. Certified copy of your marriage certificate, which you got from the Registry of Vital Records or your city or town
  2. Complaint for divorce under section 1B (CJD-101B) signed by 1 party
  3. Record of Absolute Divorce (R-408) from the Registry of Vital Records

Bring these to the registry office at the Probate and Family Court along with your fees.

You also need to file a financial statement. Both spouses must complete and file financial statements with the court. 

If you have children under 18

  1. You and your spouse will need to attend a parent education program unless it's waived by the court. You'll receive a certificate after attending.
  2. Prepare the following forms:

File those forms along with your Parent Education Certificate at the clerk's office.

Special circumstances

Some people may also need to file:

Fees for File for a no-fault 1B divorce

Name Fee Unit
Divorce filing fee $200 each
Divorce filing surcharge $15 each
Divorce summons charge $5 each

How to file File for a no-fault 1B divorce

If you or your spouse lives in the county where you lived together, you file for divorce at the Probate and Family Court in that county. Otherwise, you can file in the county where you or your spouse live now. Find the Probate and Family Court for your county.

To file by mail, complete the required forms listed above and mail them along with the necessary fees to the appropriate court. If you or your spouse lives in the county where you lived together, you should send the forms and fees to the Probate and Family Court in that county. Otherwise, you can file in the county where you or your spouse live now. Find the address of your Probate and Family Court.

Next steps for File for a no-fault 1B divorce

  1. Serve the papers

    The court will give you a summons. The complaint for divorce and summons are served on the other spouse. See service of process of domestic relations complaints for more information.

  2. After the defendant files an answer

    Once the other spouse (the defendant) has filed an answer, the 2 people will need to exchange financial statements and write up a separation agreement. See Respond to a case filed against you in Probate and Family Court for more information.

    There may be a pre-trial hearing if you and your spouse have contested issues. To prepare for a pre-trial hearing, the parties or their lawyers will submit a pre-trial memorandum. This happens after discovery, which is the process of finding out information from the other party by submitting questions (called interrogatories) to the other party or by requesting certain documents. You must also decide if you're going to call any witnesses for the trial.

    To proceed without a trial (meaning all the issues have been agreed on and are uncontested), you need to have the notarized, signed separation agreement, financial statements, and parent education certificate (if applicable) filed with the court. A hearing can't be scheduled before 6 months from the date of filing unless the court has granted a waiver.

    The judge will either accept, reject, or amend the separation agreement at the hearing. If the parties haven't reached an agreement on all of the issues, there will be a trial and the judge will make the final decision. When a judgment is entered, it becomes final 90 days later.

Downloads for File for a no-fault 1B divorce

Contact for File for a no-fault 1B divorce

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