File for separate support

Find out how and where to file for separate support.

Probate and Family Court locations

The Details of File for separate support

What you need for File for separate support

You can file for separate support if you're married and your spouse has failed to support you, has deserted you, you and your spouse are living separately for “justifiable cause”, or you and your spouse have “justifiable cause” to live apart, but are still living together. “Justifiable cause” includes things like abuse, adultery, and desertion.

You will need to file:

If you have children with your spouse, you’ll also need to file:

If you have an attorney, they’ll need to file:

Please note: Under M.G.L. c 209, § 32F, the court can’t order child custody or the transfer or sale of the home you own. However, if you file under this law, you should file a Complaint for Separate Support pursuant to G. L. c. 209, § 32F (CJD-107). This form would be filed instead of the Complaint for Separate Support (CJD-102).

Fees for File for separate support

There are also fees for separate support procedures. In addition to the listed fees, you may also be responsible for fees due to your local sheriff or constable for service. This will depend on your local Probate and Family Court.

Local courts differ on the type of payments (cash, check, credit card, etc.) that they will accept. Call your court to find out which methods of payment are accepted in that location.


If you can’t pay the filing fee because you’re indigent, you can request to have the fee waived. See Indigency (waiver of court fees) for more information.

Name Fee Unit
Filing Fee $100 each
Surcharge $15 each
Summons $5 each

How to file File for separate support

You can file in the Probate and Family Court in the county where either you or your spouse lives. However, if you left the home you lived in as a couple, you must file in the county where your spouse lives.

Next steps for File for separate support

Serve papers on your spouse

After you’ve filed, you need to let your spouse know that you’ve filed. To do this, you have to arrange for them to be served with a copy of the complaint that you filed (the “notice”) and a  “domestic relations summons”. These are papers that tell your spouse what happened and what will happen next. The court will give you the notice and summons when you file your papers, but you need to arrange to have the papers “served.” See Service of process of domestic relations complaints in Probate and Family Court for more information.

More info about File for separate support

The judge will read through your papers and make a decision. They may ask you questions in court. The judge will look at your income, your spouse’s income, the number of people you’re supporting, and what expenses you have. They will use the Child Support Guidelines to help reach a decision. The judge can order support for you or your child, as well as medical support for you or your child. The judge can also order the transfer or sale of a house you or your spouse owns.

Downloads for File for separate support

Contact for File for separate support

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