1B Divorce with children: A Checklist

Use this checklist to guide you through filing a divorce when the parties have children.  

  1. Documents to File

  2. 1. Documents to File

    Complaint For Divorce

    Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate

    Military Affidavit

    Public Assistance Affidavit

    Registry of Vital Statistics and Records

    Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody

    Compliance with Standing Order 2-16: Parent Education Programs

    Uniform Counsel Certification Form

    Additional Motions That May Be Necessary

    Affidavit of Indigency (fee waiver)

    Motion To Impound Plaintiff’s Address

    Motion For Late Filing Of Marriage Certificate

    Motion For Service By Publication

    Motion to Permit Completion of Parent Education Program via DVD

  3. What to do: FiIling

  4. 2. What to do: FiIling

    Make a copy of all documents before going to Court.

    File all documents in the Register’s office of the Probate and Family Court in the County where venue is proper.

    Get the following before you leave Court:

    • Copy of complaint with docket number
    • Certified copy of Court Order for Costs and Fees
    • A divorce summons (if not service by publication)
  5. Serve the Complaint

  6. 3. Serve the Complaint

    Contact a constable to sheriff certified to provide service of process in the county where the defendant lives.  Provide the server with the complaint and other documents that need to be served.  Also provide the defendants home address and other known locations.

    If the defendant is not located in Massachusetts, or his/her location is unknown you may have to serve by publication or use foreign service. 

  7. Return of Service

  8. 4. Return of Service

    The sheriff or constable will provide you with a return of service showing that the defendant has been served.  Return this to the clerk's office. Keep a copy.