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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

Court rules

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.

Rose v. Rose, 96 Mass. App. Ct. 557 (2019)
The 1-year residence requirement to get a divorce in Massachusetts means "an actual, continuous residence in the Commonwealth for twelve months immediately prior to filing for divorce."

Sbrogna v. Sbrogna, 92 Mass. App. Ct. 639 (2018)
Length of marriage.  Discusses the method to be used to determine the length of a marriage.

Shak v. Shak, 484 Mass. 658 (2020)
A "nondisparagement order" which forbid the couple from saying bad things about each other on social media was unconstitutional , because there was no proof that any harm to their child from the speech was either grave or certain. 

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.

Guide to Massachusetts divorce separation agreements, Wilkinson & Finkbeiner. A comprehensive explanation of what can be included in  separation agreement including sample language.

Web sources

General Information

Separation Agreements

Financial Statements and Other Financial Issues

Print sources

Complete QDRO handbook: dividing ERISA, military and civil service pensions and collecting child support from employee benefit plans, ABA, 2019.

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, 2017.
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: June 29, 2020
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