Litigation

Contested or Uncontested?

If you and your spouse can negotiate either together, or through your respective attorneys, to resolve all the issues and come to an agreement on all the terms, then you have an uncontested divorce and you can file a Joint Petition for Divorce.  You would still have a hearing in front of a Probate and Family Court Judge to have the Agreement approved and incorporated into the Divorce Judgment.  The filing fee is $215.00.

The issues to be addressed in your Separation Agreement would include:  division of your assets and liabilities, medical, dental and vision insurances, life insurance, alimony (will there be alimony or not),  taxes, and if applicable: child custody,  support, dependency exemptions and a parenting schedule.

The following is required to be filed for an uncontested divorce:

Joint Petition
http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/forms/probate-and-family/cjd101a.pdf

 

Financial Statement.  In all divorces, even those with an Agreement, each party must complete and file a court form financial statement disclosing their individual and jointly held assets, liabilities and individual income and expenses.  

http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/forms/probate-and-family/cjd301shortform.pdf

http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/forms/probate-and-family/cjd301longform.pdf

 

R-408 Form
http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/forms/probate-and-family/r408.pdf

 

Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings (if you have children under the age of 18)
http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/forms/juv/ocaj-aff-care-custody.pdf

 

Child Support Guidelines Worksheet
http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/forms/probate-and-family/cjd-304-worksheet-child-support-guidelines-2017.pdf

  • Signed and notarized Separation Agreement
  • Signed and notarized Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate
  • Certificate of Attendance at an Approved Parenting Education Class (if you have children under the age of 18)

If you and your spouse cannot agree on all the issues, or how to settle those issues, then you have a contested divorce and one of the parties will need to file a Complaint for Divorce.  The party who files first is called the Plaintiff and the other party is called the Defendant.  There are strategic reasons, and sometimes just practical reasons, for being the first to file, and thus becoming the Plaintiff.  Whether to file first is something you would discuss with your attorney.  The filing fee is $220.00 ($215.00 for filing and $5.00 for the Summons).

If you begin a case as a contested divorce, and then either through your attorneys or on your own, are able to come to an agreement on all the terms, then a Motion to Amend the Complaint to a Joint Petition can be filed with no additional filing fee.

With a Complaint for Divorce, you also file a certified copy of your marriage certificate, the R-408 form,  the Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings (when there are children under the age of 18), a Military Affidavit and a Uniform Counsel Certification (if represented by counsel).  The certificate of attendance at an Approved Parenting Education Class must be filed before a Pre-Trial Conference can be assigned.  And each time you go to Court, the financial statements of the parties are filed along with a completed child support guideline worksheet, if applicable.

 

How do I calculate Child Support?

On September 15, 2107, NEW child support guidelines came into effect.  There is a rebuttable presumption that these guidelines apply and are appropriate in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order.   The guidelines are based on various considerations, including, but not limited to, each parent’s earnings, income, and other evidence of ability to pay.  In all cases where an order for child support may be established or modified, a guidelines worksheet must be filled out, regardless of the income of the parties.   Child support is NOT tax deductible for the payor spouse and NOT taxable income to the recipient spouse.   If you would like more information about your particular case, call (508) 752-6166 or email me at cmm.esq@pobox.com.

More information can be found here:

http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/child-support/2017-child-support-guidelines.pdf

 

The following is the link to the NEW guideline worksheet:

http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/forms/probate-and-family/cjd-304-worksheet-child-support-guidelines-2017.pdf

 

If you :

  • Are already divorced and have questions about modifying your child support amount
  • Have shared physical custody and each of you has your children approximately half the time
  • Want to know what emancipation means and when you can stop paying child support or will stop receiving child support
  • Please call my office for a consultation appointment.

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