Deciding to file for a divorce is a major decision for most Massachusetts couples, and it is only natural for the financial aspects of divorce proceedings to be an important consideration. With so many online solutions available, it is not uncommon for couples to choose to handle their own divorces, believing that reaching a divorce agreement will be easy. However, they are often unprepared for the many stumbling blocks they may have to face without the guidance and support of an experienced divorce attorney.
The first choice to be made is deciding whether to file a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. If filing on fault-based grounds, the party filing for divorce will have to choose one of seven grounds for divorce available under Massachusetts law. Appropriate forms for the chosen type of filing will have to be completed and filed. A joint petition can be filed if it is an uncontested divorce, but even then the legal requirements can be confusing. Among others, financial statements, a certified marriage certificate copy and other forms must be submitted.
When minor children are involved, child custody and parenting plan agreements must be reached and submitted for approval by the court. Another area of a divorce that may prove to be more challenging than initially thought is property division. Under Massachusetts laws of equitable distribution, couples can decide on how to divide their assets, as long as it is done in a fair manner and carries the approval of the court. This is where unexpected contention often arises, and attorneys may suggest the services of professional mediators. After navigating these aspects, spousal support and child support will have to be addressed.
In Massachusetts, regardless of whether a divorce attorney is retained or a couple decides to handle their divorce themselves, there are specific waiting periods. The waiting periods between filing the divorce and the court hearing are dependent on the type of divorce filing. After the final hearing, another waiting period has to be observed before a final divorce decree is issued. Considering all the issues that may arise, many Massachusetts couples choose to utilize the services of experienced divorce attorneys to avoid stumbling blocks. A lawyer may guide each client to reach a divorce agreement that will benefit all parties.
Source: divorce.lovetoknow.com, “How to Get a Massachusetts Divorce“, Amy Pennza, Accessed on May 15, 2015