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Are there special forms to file for a divorce in Massachusetts?

So, you've decided to file for divorce. You're likely wondering where to begin. It seems like a major task, and if you don't fill out all the paperwork, it can be troublesome. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to complete the paperwork as long as you do it in order.

When you want to file for divorce in Massachusetts, you need to file several documents depending on your situation. For a no-fault divorce, you'll need to file paperwork signed by both parties. This joint petition is called a form CJD 101A. You also have to submit a joint affidavit of irretrievable breakdown and a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

After you submit these items, you'll also need to collect and submit a notarized separation agreement that is signed by both parties. This agreement can be written by yourselves. What it does is defines how you're planning to split your property, child custody, child support, visitation rights and other issues. While some people do this one their own, it can be beneficial to work with an attorney or mediator to make the best arrangement for both parties.

After this is approved by a judge, then you need to file a Certificate of Absolute Divorce. This is filed in the Registry of Vital Records, which records marriages and divorces for the state. You will also need to prove copies of your financial statements to support the documents you've previously submitted.

For many people, this is all that will need to be done. If you have children, you must go on to file a child support guidelines worksheet, a parent education certificate and the affidavit of care and custody. These forms all make sure your child will be cared for properly following the divorce.

As you can see, filing for divorce can be complex, and the advice of an experienced family law attorney can make sure that your rights are protected as the divorce paperwork makes its way through the court system.

Source: Massachusetts Court System, "What Forms Do I File for Divorce?" Dec. 10, 2014

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