What Is the Fastest Way to Get a Divorce in Massachusetts?

Image of a clock with an arrow that indicates the acceleration of the divorce process

The quickest way to get a divorce in Massachusetts is through an “uncontested” divorce, where both spouses agree on all terms. This streamlined process typically takes a few months. Keep in mind that individual circumstances may vary, impacting the timeline.

By opting for an uncontested divorce and demonstrating cooperation and mutual agreement, couples can navigate the process swiftly and without extra stress.

How Fast Can I Get a Divorce in Massachusetts?

Uncontested divorce in Massachusetts may take a minimum of 5-6 months. Such duration is due to two mandatory periods in 1A cases:

  • 30 days from the hearing date when the judge approves the separation agreement made by spouses till the judgment nisi is automatically entered;
  • 90 days that start from the judgment date and are needed for judgment nisi to become final.  

On the other hand, contested 1B cases or fault-based divorces can be potentially finalized within at least 9 months. In reality, though, a dissolution of a marriage completed in 12-18 months would be considered a relatively fast divorce, as many cases take several years to resolve.

The average divorce time is that long in contested and fault-based cases in Massachusetts due to several factors:

  • The hearing on the case can be scheduled only in 6 months from filing, except the cases where spouses got a court waiver on this waiting period. Besides, there may be additional hearings if parties cannot agree during the first one, further delaying the process.
  • Once a divorce judgment is entered, there is a mandatory nisi period of 90 days before the case becomes final and parties can get a decree as the confirmation that they are divorced. 

Factors that Can Extend the Divorce Process

The image illustrates possible factors that influence the speed of the divorce process
Things like having disputes over key matters, and the need for additional court hearings, can extend the duration of the divorce process.

Conflicts between spouses can greatly prolong the divorce process, and the main types of disputes impacting the timelines are specified below.

Child Custody Disagreements

If parties cannot agree on child custody matters, the court will intervene and make decisions based on the child’s age and health, their needs, the relationship with each parent, any history of abuse or neglect, etc.

To ensure the decisions are in the best interest of kids, the court may require the involvement of third-party specialists such as child custody experts, professionals in calculating child support, psychologists, etc., leading to protracted litigation.

Also, some spouses may intentionally try to delay the resolution of child custody issues and the overall divorce process. Delay tactics in family court can include repeatedly requesting continuances for hearings, filing unnecessary motions, avoiding hearings, etc.

Alimony Disagreements

Disputes can arise when determining the duration and amount of alimony payments, especially if the parties have different perspectives on their financial circumstances, earning capacities, or future needs.

These disagreements will lead to more hearings and increased time spent on negotiations and litigation. Besides, consultations with professionals in financial matters to assess the parties’ income, expenses, and overall financial situation will prolong the process.  

Disagreements on Division of Assets

A man holds in his hands money and property that will be divided during a divorce.
Experiencing disagreements on dividing assets during a divorce is a common problem that may complicate the process.

If parties own significant property to divide and cannot agree on its distribution, the divorce can take too long to settle. The disagreements can range from determining what property is marital in the case to deciding who should be an owner of the family business. The presence of high-value belongings such as real estate, businesses, or investment portfolios complicates matters further, often requiring the involvement of financial experts or forensic accountants.

Scheduling at the Courthouse

With the number of cases filed in the state yearly, getting a hearing date as soon as you wish is not always possible. The limited resources and high demand for judges at the courthouse can be among the reasons that drag out divorce proceedings, even uncontested ones. Additionally, unforeseen circumstances like judges’ unavailability or emergencies may also disrupt the scheduling.

Failing to Cooperate During the Legal Process

In a contested divorce in Massachusetts, the refusal of parties to collaborate and the inability to reach agreements can be the main causes of delays. If spouses cannot come to a consensus on child custody, alimony payments, or division of assets, the trial and involvement of the judge become necessary. The divorce process can stretch out as the court calendar is filled, leading to longer waiting periods between hearings.

When we talk about starting the divorce if both parties agree, the process duration will not likely depend on spouses since all issues between them have been resolved. Timelines will mostly be affected by the court workload and the specific periods required by the state laws before the case can be finalized.

Document Preparation Mistakes

Mistakes in the documents needed to file the case can lead to unnecessary delays and frustration for both spouses. These can include errors when filling out the forms, improper formatting, outdated or missing documents, etc.

If any flaws are discovered in the papers, the court will likely reject them. As a result, spouses will need to make the necessary modifications and file the paperwork again, which can add time and complexity to the divorce process.

To simplify the paperwork preparation and speed up the divorce process, you can order papers from a reliable online service if your case is uncontested.  

How to Speed Up Your Divorce Process?

There are a few steps you can take to avoid delays in your divorce case, simplify it, and move forward faster.

  • Firstly, open communication with your spouse can greatly facilitate a speedy resolution if you manage to agree on major divorce terms and file for an uncontested, quick divorce in Massachusetts.
  • Moreover, by using online divorce service, you can save time and avoid the stress of dealing with complicated legal paperwork. Ordering with us, you can expedite a divorce process, particularly its first state of paperwork preparation, and be sure that the forms are correctly completed, up-to-date, and court-approved, reducing the possibility of delays. Additionally, you will receive a detailed filing guide with step-by-step instructions on how to proceed with your case and finalize it efficiently.
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