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Do You Need To Live in Massachusetts to File for Divorce Here?

In order for Massachusetts to take proper jurisdiction (or control) over a divorce case, the parties to the divorce must show that there is an adequate relationship between the parties and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  There are several ways this can be done.

If both parties are filing for an uncontested divorce, which means that they will file a Joint Petition for Divorce, then at least one of the parties filing must have lived in Massachusetts for 1 year prior to filing.

If one of the parties is filing for a contested divorce, which means that the parties are not in total agreement, then the person filing for the divorce must have lived in Massachusetts for 1 year prior to filing OR they must be living in Massachusetts and the cause of the divorce happened in Massachusetts.

If it turns out that the person filing for divorce moved to Massachusetts solely for the purpose of obtaining a divorce, then the court has the right to dismiss the divorce for lack of jurisdiction.

Many people want to get a divorce in Massachusetts because they were originally married here.  Then they moved away.  Either their family still lives in MA so they want to come back here , settle down and get a divorce or in a lot of same-sex marriages, their marriages are not recognized where they now live so they want to divorce in MA where they were married or where their marriage is legal.  However, you do not qualify to get a divorce in Massachusetts simply because you were married here.  Likewise, simply because your marriage is not recognized where you live or you have no other way to get a divorce, does not entitle Massachusetts to have jurisdiction over your divorce.

If there are any doubts, consult with an attorney about the facts of your case so that you may know where you should be filing for a divorce.


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