Business hours 8:00 to 3:00 Monday through Friday        Telephone (413) 586-8500

Welcome to the

Hampshire County Probate and Family Court

Information Center

Welcome to the

Hampshire County Probate and Family Court

Information Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The following information is provided to you as a public service and does not constitute legal advice.  When you sign a legal document or file any documents with the court it can seriously affect your future.  You should always try to get legal advice before signing any documents, filing any documents with the Court or appearing in Court.

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

Complaint for Divorce

There is an abundance of information for both types of divorces.  Whenever we tell you what type of form you will need, there will be a link to that particular form.  All our court forms are fillable on-line or you can print them out and fill them out at your leisure.  When printing out the Court forms from our website, YOU MUST adhere to the instructions.  Some forms MUST BE a certain color and ALL FORMS MUST BE PRINTED ON BONDED, ACID-FREE PAPER.  Before you download a form and attempt to fill it out, please download our samples and pamphlets when available to assist you.  

There are two different types of Complaints for Divorce:  No Fault and Fault. 

No Fault Fault
 

 


No Fault Divorce

What to file:

What happens after you file: 

After you file the above documents to the Court, you will be issued a "Summons".  This summons and a copy of the Complaint MUST be forwarded or given to the Sheriff or Constable in the County where the Defendant lives.  These papers will be "served" on the defendant by the sheriff's department.  After the sheriff "serves" these papers, they will either forward to you, as plaintiff, or the Court the ORIGINAL SUMMONS with a "Return of Service" on the back of the Summons.  This means that the sheriff has served the defendant a copy of the divorce papers.  If you receive this original summons from the Sheriff's Department with the back of the summons filled out by the Sheriff, then you MUST file this with the Court.  This is "proof to the Court" that the Defendant has been served.  

The Defendant has 20 days in which to Answer your Complaint for Divorce.  The Defendant could either

-File an Answer with the Court.  If the Defendant chooses to file an Answer then you could file motions for temporary relief.  At that time, the Court can address issues such as temporary custody, support, visitation, and temporary property issues during your motions for temporary relief.  The Court can also schedule Pre-Trial hearings, or other types of  hearings.   However, when you are filing a no fault divorce (otherwise known as a 1B divorce), you MUST wait 6 months from the date of filing to get a final trial Date.  

OR

-Not file an answer.  If the Defendant chooses not to file an Answer then after you have returned to the Court the return of service, you could still file motions for temporary relief.  At that time, the Court can address issues such as temporary custody, support, visitation, and temporary property issues during your motions for temporary relief.  The Court can also schedule Pre-Trial hearings, or other types of  hearings.   However, when you are filing a no fault divorce (otherwise known as a 1B divorce), you MUST wait 6 months from the date of filing to get a final trial date.  

Other forms, if appropriate:

  • Worksheet for Child Support Guidelines if there are minor children of the marriage.  (This form MUST be printed on yellow paper and page one on the back of page two.) (Click here for form page one) (Click here for form page two)

  • A Separation Agreement, signed by both parties with each signature notarized.  This must address the issues of marital property, proper provisions for alimony (even if it is not requested by either party, custody, support and maintenance of any minor children) (Separation Agreement with children - Click for form) OR  (Separation Agreement without children - Click for form)

  • Affidavit of Indigency can be filed to determine if the parties meet the qualifications for the Court to waive the filing fees.

  • If the annual income of either party exceeds $75,000, a different Financial Statement form is required for each party that exceeds $75,000 annual income.  (This form MUST be printed on purple paper.  This form has a total of 8 pages.)  (Click here for form)

  • Trial Request - Use this form if you wish a pre-trial conference or Trial Request.

All documents must be filed before your case can be marked for hearing.  

Important  IF CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED

A Statement of Disclosure MUST be filed or the petition will not be accepted for filing. 

  • PACT PROGRAM.  Both parents will be required to participate in the PACT Program (Parents and Children in Transition).  There is a registration fee and once you have completed the program and your certificates are on file with the Court, your case will be scheduled for hearing.  This program is mandatory even if the case is uncontested.  (Click here for information)

  • DOR Application  (Click here for form)

  • Child Support Guidelines.  (Click here for information about child support)

 


Fault Divorce

What to file:

  • Filing fee of $220.00 (Payable to "Hampshire County Probate and Family Court".  Bank check or money order is required.  No personal checks are accepted)

  • A Complaint for Divorce (Click here for form)

  • An R408 Form (Click here for form)

  • A certified copy of your marriage certificate - You must get this from the town/city where you were married. 

  • Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody of a child, if there are any minor children of the marriage.  (Click here for form)

  • Financial Statement (Please note that if you are using the web to download this form, it MUST be printed on pink paper AND the SECOND PAGE MUST BE PRINTED ON THE BACK OF THE 1st PAGE) - (Click here for color graphics) (Click here for form Page One) (Click here for form Page Two

What happens after you file: 

After you file the above documents to the Court, you will be issued a "Summons".  This summons and a copy of the Complaint MUST be forwarded or given to the Sheriff or Constable in the County where the Defendant lives.  These papers will be "served" on the defendant by the sheriff's department.  After the sheriff "serves" these papers, they will either forward to you, as plaintiff, or the Court the ORIGINAL SUMMONS with a "Return of Service" on the back of the Summons.  This means that the sheriff has served the defendant a copy of the divorce papers.  If you receive this original summons from the Sheriff's Department with the back of the summons filled out by the Sheriff, then you MUST file this with the Court.  This is "proof to the Court" that the Defendant has been served.  

The Defendant has 20 days in which to Answer your Complaint for Divorce.  The Defendant could either

-File an Answer with the Court.  If the Defendant chooses to file an Answer then you could file motions for temporary relief.  At that time, the Court can address issues such as temporary custody, support, visitation, and temporary property issues during your motions for temporary relief.  The Court can also schedule Pre-Trial hearings, or other types of  hearings.   However, when you are filing a no fault divorce (otherwise known as a 1B divorce), you MUST wait 6 months from the date of filing to get a final trial Date.  

OR

-Not file an answer.  If the Defendant chooses not to file an Answer then after you have returned to the Court the return of service, you could file motions for temporary relief or a Trial Request.  (Download Trial Request here)  Whether you choose to file a Motion for temporary relief or a Trial Request, the Court can address issues such as custody, support, visitation, and property issues during this time.   The Court can also schedule Pre-Trial hearings, or other types of  hearings.   

Other forms, if appropriate:

  • Worksheet for Child Support Guidelines if there are minor children of the marriage.  (This form MUST be printed on yellow paper and page one on the back of page two.) (Click here for form page one) (Click here for form page two)

  • A Separation Agreement, signed by both parties with each signature notarized.  This must address the issues of marital property, proper provisions for alimony (even if it is not requested by either party, custody, support and maintenance of any minor children) (Separation Agreement with children - Click for form) OR  (Separation Agreement without children - Click for form)

  • Affidavit of Indigency can be filed to determine if the parties meet the qualifications for the Court to waive the filing fees.

  • If the annual income of either party exceeds $75,000, a different Financial Statement form is required for each party that exceeds $75,000 annual income.  (This form MUST be printed on purple paper.  This form has a total of 8 pages.)  (Click here for form)

  • Trial Request - Use this form if you wish a pre-trial conference or Trial Request.

All documents must be filed before your case can be marked for hearing.  

Important  IF CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED

A Statement of Disclosure MUST be filed or the petition will not be accepted for filing. 

  • PACT PROGRAM.  Both parents will be required to participate in the PACT Program (Parents and Children in Transition).  There is a registration fee and once you have completed the program and your certificates are on file with the Court, your case will be scheduled for hearing.  This program is mandatory even if the case is uncontested.  (Click here for information)

  • DOR Application  (Click here for form)

  • Child Support Guidelines.  (Click here for information about child support)

<Back to Divorce Information>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

stat tracker for tumblr

- Home - Directions - Parent Ed Programs Informational Pamphlets  - Legal Research Links - Table of Contents - Common Legal Terms - Ten Suggestions - Information Center - Court Forms - Contact us

Copyright 2003 [Hampshire County Probate and Family Court]. All rights reserved.
Revised: August 07, 2013 .