There are several steps to file divorce in MA:
- Jurisdiction- generally it is easy to show jurisdiction with generally live together as husband and wife in MA and residency requirements but if grounds for divorce occurred outside of MA the plaintiff needs to have lived in MA for at least a year prior to filing divorce.
- Gather documents- make copies and ideally keep outside of house which includes:(a) certified copy of marriage certificate; (b) 3 years of tax returns; (c) pay stubs; (d) mortgage statements and property tax bills;(e) bank account and credit card statements and (f) retirement account information
- Decide whether to file contested or uncontested divorce and if uncontested work out with your attorney or spouse the issues that needs to be resolved and how you wish to resolve them( usually you need an attorney or mediator)
- If able to resolve case, have a divorce agreement ( separation agreement) written up to be approved by the court
- if have an agreement file a joint petition for divorce, filing fee of $215, form r408, military affidavit, affidavit of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, certified copy of marriage certificate, financial statement of each party, if children a parenting education certificate, child support guideline worksheet, affidavit disclosing care and custody
- If can not reach an agreement similar paperwork but a complaint for divorce, $220 filing fee but do not need agreement, affidavit of irretrievable breakdown and do not need parenting certificate to file.