Divorce is the dissolution of the marriage relationship by the judgment of the Court. Actions for divorce should be filed in the division of the Probate and Family Court located in the county in which
either party lives, excepting that the action must be filed in the county where the parties last lived together if one of the parties still resides in that county.
In Massachusetts, parties may file either a joint Petition for Divorce or a Complaint for Divorce. The parties will file a joint Petition for Divorce, commonly referred to as a "1A", if they
agree to all issues pertaining to the divorce such as the division of marital property, child custody, and spousal support. A Complaint for Divorce will be filed if the parties do not agree to all issues.
The parties are co-petitions in a Joint Petition for Divorce, and plaintiff and defendant in a Complaint for Divorce.
Let us walk
you through the maze of procedures, forms and information regarding
divorce. We are striving to help people who are contemplating
filing for a divorce, information and forms to download to fill out
at your convenience. Please thoroughly read ALL the self-help
pages before filing any papers with the Court.
Below you will find information regarding
Divorce. There are three types of divorces that are filed
in our court:
Uncontested - 1A - This is filed with a "Petition" form - Both parties must sign this and other forms associated with this type of divorce proceeding. (Download a sample Petition
No-Fault - This is filed with a "Complaint for Divorce" form. Only one party needs to sign this Complaint for Divorce. The other party will be notified by a summons which will be served
by a sheriff and will have an opportunity to answer the Complaint.
(Download a sample Complaint here)
Fault - This is filed with a "Complaint for Divorce" form. Only one party needs to sign this Complaint for Divorce. The other party will be notified by a summons which will be
served by a sheriff and will have an opportunity to answer the Complaint.
(Download a sample complaint here)
For further information on Grounds for Divorce -
Click on one of the types of divorce that you are interested in for further information, procedures and forms. We have also provided some informational pamphlets below for further reading. These
pamphlets are provided for download in Adobe Acrobat reader. If you do not have acrobat reader,
click here for a free download.
Uncontested Divorce - (1A Divorce)
- In this type of
divorce both parties participate in the filing of a
document called a Joint Petition for Divorce.
In order to file for this type of divorce, you must
have reached an agreement as to all issues (for
example, custody, visitation, child support,
alimony, division of property and debts, and health
- No Fault - In this type of
divorce, one party files a document called a Complaint for
Divorce claiming "irretrievable breakdown of the
marriage." This type of no fault divorce is used
where you do not have an agreement. It may be used if
you are unable to reach an agreement as to all issues (for
example, custody, visitation, child support, alimony,
division of property and debts and health insurance
- Fault - if the other party does not
agree that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the