How to File for Divorce in MA

Legal Counsel for Divorce Issues in Worcester

Couple signing divorce papersWhen parties are facing a divorce, no matter which spouse may have initiated the process, emotions are especially high. The necessity of dividing property and debt and determining child custody, child support, and spousal support issues all may evoke a considerable reaction that cannot be ignored. Choosing the right divorce attorney is imperative during this stressful period.

At the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr., an experienced lawyer who has assisted hundreds of families with their divorces is waiting to also help you. We understand how delicate the negotiations can be in a divorce situation and approach each encounter with professionalism and an appreciation for the emotional toll that the process is likely taking on all partied involved. We are a boutique law firm, which serves us well by allowing us to give our clients the personal attention that is needed during such a distressing time.

Through the wide assortment of our legal services available to families in divorce situations, we pledge to work tirelessly to help our clients attain the best possible outcomes available. Our range of services includes:

The Divorce Process

The divorce process for each county in our state follows a similar sequence starting with the divorce filing. Next the temporary orders on matters relating to the spouses and to the children (if any) are issued, followed by the submission of various financial statements and the divorce discovery. Whether the divorce is reached amicably or a trial is held, each divorce ends with the court making its final divorce decree.

Grounds for Divorce Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you can file for either a fault, no-fault, contested, or uncontested divorce. It’s important that you choose which type of divorce best suits your situation before you begin the divorce process.

A fault divorce means that you are blaming the end of your marriage on your spouse and you must provide grounds for the divorce. In Massachusetts, there are seven grounds for a fault divorce:

  • Abuse
  • Adultery
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Desertion
  • Impotency
  • Prison sentences of 5+ years
  • Refusal to provide support

An experienced attorney can help you determine which type of divorce filing is for you.

How Long Do You Have to be Separated Before Divorce in Massachusetts?

In MA, finalizing a divorce requires a "nisi period". The nisi period is the time between when the court grants your divorce and when the divorce becomes final. The purpose of this waiting period is to allow couples to think things over and ensure that any property in the divorce wasn't fabricated. Neither couple must do anything specific, as the divorce will become final automatically. The waiting time solely depends on if the divorce is "1A" or "1B". A 1A divorce will take 120 days while the latter will take 90.

How are Assets Divided in a Divorce in Massachusetts?

If you and your spouse can come to an agreement about asset and property division then you will have the right to. However, if there are disagreements, then a judge will split them based on equitable distribution. This doesn't necessarily mean it will be divided equally down the middle, there are many factors that will be evaluated first. These include the length of the marriage, the age/health of each spouse, and the income of each spouse.

Can You Get Divorced Without Your Spouse's Consent?

Every state allows you to file for divorce, even without spouse consent. If you file for divorce and your spouse doesn't respond, then they will have 30 days to reply or you may be granted default from the court.

Family Law

To find an experienced and knowledgeable legal team with the ability to assist you with any family law matter; you need look no further than our firm. Whether you require us to set up a prenuptial agreement, help with a joyous event such as a family adoption or any other divorce or family law matter, we have the expertise and the proven success to satisfy your needs.

High Net Worth Divorce

While no divorce is simple, some cases are extremely complex. This would be the case when a divorcing couple owns a business together, or even if a spouse is trying to hide assets. A high net worth divorce can even complicate matters such as child support.

Legal Separation

Based on the General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 209-32, in our state, legal separations are recognized. In such a situation, a court may make orders pertaining to the support, care and custody of minor children and to the support of the married person(s). As circumstances change, existing court orders may be modified or new orders may be entered into.

Same Sex Marriage

In our state, same sex marriages have been legally performed since May of 2004. Unfortunately, as in marriages between heterosexual couples, same sex couples have divorced since that time. Although the rules governing child support and custody, spousal support and the division of property are officially identical in same sex and opposite sex divorces, the reality is much different and many questions are evident in same sex divorces.

Child Custody

When spouses divorce, the effect on the family, parents and children alike, is often the most upsetting part of the marriage dissolution. Decisions regarding child custody are among the most difficult for parents to agree upon and often require the assistance of a skilled attorney with experience in this area. If you are divorcing and have child custody or father's rights questions, an experienced and compassionate attorney at our firm is available to discuss your situation.

Child Support

As a law firm experienced in divorce issues, we are intimately familiar with our state's child support laws. We understand that this issue is difficult for many families, whether one is a parent who must pay child support or is the parent who receives the support. We have earned a reputation for our successful representation of our clients' interests in child support matters and welcome your contact to schedule a consultation with us.

Court Order Enforcement

Divorce decrees that are properly written are compulsory, including child custody and visitation orders, and orders of child or spousal support. Violations of such orders by one or both parties may result in contempt or other court enforcement, such as incarceration. At our firm, we have represented hundreds of clients in divorce matters and are fully aware of how to see that court orders are enforced.

Modifications to Court Orders

Life is not immobile but is always changing and evolving. So it is with families of divorce who are trying to work with court orders. In situations where divorced parties have changed their work schedule, job or financial circumstances, modifications to the existing court orders may be necessary. In these cases, we can petition the court for a modification to the order(s) in question.


Agreeing on visitation arrangements of children in divorce situations can be amongst the most difficult issues that divorcing spouses will address. Such decisions can be especially contentious if the divorcing spouses cannot put aside their personal feelings towards each other for the sake of their children. If you are concerned about your failure to attain agreement regarding your children's visitation, contact our firm today for assistance.


It is not unusual in our mobile society for you as a parent to want to move to another state with your children. When they are under the jurisdiction of a court due to divorce, paternity or child support, however, you must get the other parent's permission to remove the children from the state. Failing that, you need the court's permission, citing why such a move is in the child's best interests.

Spousal Support

To help a spouse maintain a certain level of financial existence or standard of living, or to assist eligible spouses to change over from married to single life after a divorce, our state awards spousal support . Although some people believe that spousal support can only be issued to a female in a traditional marriage, spousal support can be requested by either party.


A guardian petition in divorce cases is typically brought by someone seeking custody of a minor child who is not the parent of that child. Such petitions are governed by Chapter 201 of the Massachusetts General Laws, under "Guardians and Conservators." Family members, other than the mother or father of a child, are often appointed as guardians to protect the interests of a child.

Protective Orders

A protective order is a type of restraining order by the court to make it illegal for the defendant in some cases of domestic violence, such as situations of spousal abuse or child abuse, from affecting another person's safety or security. Protective orders can be issued with or without a divorce action. If you have been the victim of abusive or threatening behavior or conversely have been falsely accused of such acts, call for help today.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence situations are extremely dangerous and can occur as patterns of behavior or a onetime occurrence. Domestic violence can take many forms, ranging from threats and verbal abuse to full-fledged physical aggression towards adults and children. If you or your children have been threatened or are the victims of domestic violence, we are ready to put all of our experience and skills into action to keep you safe.


Are you aware that even though a father's name may appear on a birth certificate, he is not the legal parent of the child if the parents are not married and paternity has not been established? If you have questions about the paternity process, whether you are the mother of the child or an interested male party, we welcome your contact at our law firm.

Contact a Worcester divorce attorney at our firm today for the legal representation you can rely on to protect your interests.

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