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1A Divorce: Steps

A checklist of the steps for filing a 1A divorce.

  1. Is a 1A divorce right for your clients?

  2. 1. Is a 1A divorce right for your clients?

    • Use a 1A Joint Petition for Divorce in situations where the parties agree to all details of the divorce.
    • Parties seek court approval of their completed separation agreement.
    • Do not use if the parties are in disagreement about any detail.
    • Considered a “no-fault” divorce.

    Governed by M.G.L. c. 208 § 1A

     

    Yes No
  3. Know the 1A Divorce Process

  4. 2. Know the 1A Divorce Process

    • Clerk sets a hearing date after all paperwork has been filed.
    • Both spouses must attend the hearing unless the court has accepted an attendance waiver for one spouse.
    • Parties would need to file a Joint Motion to Waive Appearance before the divorce hearing, along with a notarized affidavit.
    • Judge determines that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
    • Judge enters an order approving the separation agreement
  5. Did you file in the right court?

  6. 3. Did you file in the right court?

    • If one or both parties live in the county where the parties last lived together, file in the Probate and Family Court in that county.  
    • If neither party lives in the county where the parties last lived together, file in the Probate and Family Court in the county where one party lives now.
    Yes No
  7. Did you file all these document with the court? (at the same time)

  8. 4. Did you file all these document with the court? (at the same time)

    • Separation Agreement
    • Joint Petition for Divorce
    • Joint Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown
    • R-408 Form
    • Original/Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate
    • If marriage certificate is in a language other than English, you will need a certified translation
    • Financial Statements
    • Parent Education Certificate (if needed)
    • Affidavit Disclosing Care and Custody (if needed)
    • Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (if needed)
    • Affidavit of Indigency (if both parties qualify)
    Yes No
  9. Did your client attend a Parent Education Course?

  10. 5. Did your client attend a Parent Education Course?

    See Standing Order 2-16

    • Divorcing parents with minor children must attend a Parent Education Program unless:
      • No course available in party’s language
      • Incarcerated
      • Hospitalized
      • Active Military Service
    • If a parent cannot attend, File a Motion to Waive Attendance at Parent Education Program.

    Information about Parent Education Programs .  

    Yes No
  11. The 1A Divorce Becomes Final

  12. 6. The 1A Divorce Becomes Final

    • Judgment of Divorce Nisi enters 30 days after the judge enters an order approving the separation agreement.
    • The Judgment of Divorce Nisi is final 90 days later (the “Nisi Period”).
    • Therefore, divorce is not final and parties cannot remarry until 120 days after the date of the judge’s order.

    Note: Until the divorce is final, the separation agreement can be modified by agreement of the parties (with court approval) if there is a substantial change in circumstances.