Instructions: Complaint for divorce (Section 1B - irretrievable breakdown) court form

Instructions and information to assist you in completing this form.

Complaint for Divorce (under G.L. c. 208, § 1B) form

See G.L. c.208 (more specifically, Section 1B)

File with the complaint form

The following must be filed with this petition:

  • Certified copy of civil marriage certificate.
  • R-408 - Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment Statistical Information form. (See G.L. c.208, Section 6B ) Please complete items #1 through #10B. Please type or write neatly. Do not leave fields blank. If the field cannot be completed (e.g. number of prior marriages is unknown), place dashes ("---") in the field to indicate it is deliberately left blank.
  • Affidavit of Care and Custody if parties have children together (form available at the courthouse).

Filing fees

See the Uniform Schedule of Fees for applicable filing fees.

Service of Complaint

Service of complaint on defendant is to be made in accordance with Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 4.

Financial statements

View this financial statements page for additional information, including the financial statement (short form) and instructions, and the financial statement (long form) and instructions.

See also Uniform Probate Court Practice XXX, and Supplemental Probate Court Rule 401

Child Support Guidelines

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet if support for child(ren) is requested.

Additional Resources for Child Support Guidelines

Additional information

  • All requests for temporary relief must be made my motion, although several requests may be contained on one.
  • For temporary restraining orders, See Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 65.
  • If attachment or trustee process is desired, a motion with affidavit must be filed. A certificate of insurance is normally not required in domestic relations cases. See Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedures Rules 4.1 and 4.2.
  • All parties to a divorce action in which there is/are minor child(ren) are required to attend and participate in an approved Parent Education Program unless requirement waived by the court. See Probate and Family Court Standing Order 2-16.
  • Each party to a divorce action shall deliver to the other within 45 days from date of service of summons, specific financial documents. See Supplemental Probate Rule 410.
  • An automatic restraining order applies to both parties in a complaint for divorce. It prohibits either party from engaging in any action which changes the present financial status of the parties. See Supplemental Probate Court Rule 411.
  • If, prior to entry of judgment under this section, the parties jointly file a sworn affidavit that an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage exists and a notarized separation agreement, then said action for divorce shall proceed under Section 1A with the court scheduling a speedy hearing on the dissolution agreement.

Uniform Counsel Certification

Attorneys are required to file a Uniform Counsel Certification.

Additional Resources for Uniform Counsel Certification

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