When it comes to divorce in Massachusetts, there are two types to consider. There are contested divorces and uncontested divorces. Depending on what type of divorce you are filing for, the amount of time to get it finalized will be different. We explain how long it will take to get a divorce in Massachusetts depending on which type of divorce you file for.
Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts
An uncontested divorce is where both parties come to an agreement regarding the division of their assets and liabilities, child custody, and visitation issues. Both parties will also come to an agreement of the rights and responsibilities of each party moving forward. With these agreements, a joint petition, separation agreement, and other divorce documents will be signed. If this mutual agreement is finalized, a couple looking to divorce will enter a court and file the divorced. From there it will take about 120 days from the date of the filing for the divorce to filing. An uncontested divorce will save the couple a considerable amount of time and money if everything is sorted and agreed upon prior to filing for a divorce.
Contested Divorce in Massachusetts
A contested divorce is where either party cannot agree to the division of assets, child custody, visitation, and other terms of the divorce. In this instance, the filing party would have to serve the Complaint for Divorce and accompanying documents on the other spouse. After this complaint is filed, the court will send a tracking order that will indicate how long the court expects the case to take. A divorce case where there are not many issues to handle will usually take about eight months to finalized depending on the court’s schedule. If there are significant financial and child custody issues to deal with then you should expect to wait about 14 months for the divorce to finalize. In addition to these time ranges, there are other factors at hand that can cause the case to take longer than anticipated. The tracking ordered issued by the court will prevent cases from lingering due to non-activity or failure to settle. If couples can’t come to an agreement then the court can schedule status conferences and pre-trial conferences to help keep the parties on track to come to a settlement. If a contested divorce is able to settle within the first six months of the complaint being filed then the complaint will convert to a joint petition. This is where the couple can file a separation agreement and start the divorce process. From there the divorce can become final 90 days from the date the Judgment Nisi is entered.