Massachusetts law about divorce

A compilation of laws, cases, and web sources on Massachusetts divorce law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

Best bet

Family Law Advocacy for Low and Moderate Income Litigants , 3d ed., 2018. Mass. Legal Services.
The online version of the book includes checklists, sample agreements, forms, and so much more. Despite the title, those in all income brackets will find it useful. It's the best online source.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.208  Divorce

Selected Massachusetts cases

Ansin v. Craven-Ansin , 457 Mass. 283 (2010)
Post-Nuptial Agreements may be enforced. "[T]he judge should determine at a minimum whether (1) each party has had an opportunity to obtain separate legal counsel of each party's own choosing; (2) there was fraud or coercion in obtaining the agreement; (3) all assets were fully disclosed by both parties before the agreement was executed; (4) each spouse knowingly and explicitly agreed in writing to waive the right to a judicial equitable division of assets and all marital rights in the event of a divorce; and (5) the terms of the agreement are fair and reasonable at the time of execution and at the time of divorce."

Ravasizadeh v. Niakosari, 94 Mass. App. Ct. 123 (2018)
Mahr. Discusses treatment of an Islamic marriage contract called a mahr (also translated as mehr, meher, mehrieh or mahriyeh), in Massachusetts court.

Forms

Court forms

Checklist for Divorce Separation Agreements , Mass. Council on Family Mediation. A list of the many items to consider when drafting your separation agreement.

Sample separation agreements 

Web sources

General Information

  • Divorce After 50: Your Guide to the Unique Legal and Financial Challenges, Nolo, 2019 Requires library card for access
  • Divorce Statistics, Divorce Magazine
    A large number of statistics about divorce in an easy-to-read format. Includes divorce rate by state, statistics about marriage and divorce and children of divorce.
  • Divorce Without Court, Nolo, 2018
    Includes information on mediation, writing the agreement, doing legal research, and more. Requires library card for access
  • FAQs about divorce, Alan Pransky.
    This site includes everything you every wanted to know about divorce, alimony, child support and child custody, but were afraid to ask. It includes answers to questions like: What happens to debts in a divorce?, I'm separated: Can I date?, How are family pets handled?, When can I stop paying child support?, How is alimony decided? and much more.
  • Get a copy of your divorce record, Mass. Trial Court.
  • Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce, Nolo, 2018
    Not specific to Massachusetts, includes information on uncontested divorce, mediation, custody disputes, child support, health insurance and more. Requires library card for access
  • The Process of Exchanging Information in Probate and Family Court, Neighborhood Legal Services, 2000
    Although quite old, this handbook does a good job of explaining what can be requested and how to do so, as well as providing warning of when an attorney's help is critical.
  • Self-Help: Annulment, Mass. Trial Court.
    Lists the grounds for an annulment, and explains why, in many cases, a divorce may be a simpler option
  • Separation and Divorce, Mass. Legal Help, 2015
    This is a chapter of a book written for domestic violence survivors, but the information would be helpful to anyone just starting the divorce process. Covers the basics of where to file, costs, the timetable, and more, with links to forms.

Separation Agreements

Financial Statements and Other Financial Issues

Print sources

Financial Aspects of Divorce in Massachusetts, MCLE, loose-leaf

Harris, Susan. "Woof, woof, we're getting a divorce": pet custody and the law. v. 30 Issue 3 Massachusetts Family Law Journal 30 (May/June 2012)

Massachusetts Divorce Law Practice Manual, MCLE, loose-leaf

Military Families and Divorce, MCLE, 2011
Discusses the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, custody, family support, and pensions

Trying Divorce Cases in Massachusetts, MCLE, 2015.
Chapter 7 Doing your Digging: Discovery in Divorce Actions and Chapter 8 Uncovering Hidden Assets and Income

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: April 9, 2019
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