In Massachusetts what are some general paperwork that is helpful to have in a Divorce?

 Gathering various documents and keeping them outside the marital home would be beneficial. Obtaining a certified copy of the marriage certificate from the town or city you were married in.  A church certificate is not valid, and the certificate needs to be from the town or city you were married.

Having at least 3 years of tax returns, current paystubs from both you and your spouse, property tax bills, mortgage statements, bank account statements, retirement account statements, credit card statements are all beneficial for the financial aspects.

For school or medical records, it is important for children if custody is a dispute.  If DCF is involved, the copies of any DCF records or any court pleadings could also be helpful.

In Massachusetts what Forms do I need for an Uncontested Divorce?

You will need a filing fee of $215.00, which needs to be either a bank check or money order.  You will need to file a Joint Petition for Divorce completely filled out and signed; a Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment, which is called form R-408; a certified copy of your marriage certificate from the town or city you were married (it cannot be from the church or religious ceremony, it needs to be official from the town or city); an Affidavit from both parties stating that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and with signatures and dates; a Separation Agreement which is considered a Divorce Agreement that both parties sign and have the signatures notarized. It should be initialed at the bottom of each page or if there are any handwritten changes.

The Separation Agreement has a variety of aspects that need to be addressed; including division of marital property, spousal support, custody, child support, maintenance of the minor children and other issues. Even if there are going to be waivers of certain parts of this, the Agreement does have technical issues that need to be addressed in every Agreement.

Each party needs to fill out a Financial Statement. If your income is under $75,000 then you need to fill out a short form Financial Statement, which is pink and if your annual income is over $75,000 a purple form which is considered a long form is required.  You also need to attach a copy of your W2 or 1099 for the prior year. You need to do a worksheet for child support guidelines if there are any minor children and an Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody even if there no prior court hearing regarding the children.

In addition, each party needs to have a Parenting Education Certificate that would be filed with the Court as well.

What is the standard for a Motion to Recuse a Judge?

In Massachusetts there is a two-prong test for whether a Judge should remain on the case or not. It is a significant step to ask a Judge to recuse himself or the Judge can determine to recuse himself/herself on his/her own.  The Judge needs to look at his ability to be impartial; whether the internal test of being free from what is called a disable and prejudice, which is a subjective test.

Secondly, the object appraisal is whether his/her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.  There are times where parties think that a Judge should recuse himself, for example: if he/she hears things in another formal court proceeding, the parties might think the Judge would need recuse himself from which is not necessarily the case.  Parties also need to be careful that they do not waive the right to ask the court to recuse him/herself in the future.   A Judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality might be reasonably questioned.

In addition, if he has personal biased or prejudice concerning the party or personal knowledge regarding the case not from his role as a Judge.  If he served as a lawyer and was involved with the litigation or with the parties and there are a variety of other circumstances as well.