Uncontested Divorce Agreement
Divorce is defined as the legal process for the termination of a marriage. In the state of Massachusetts, divorces can be ‘fault’ or ‘no-fault.’ Either of which can be ‘uncontested‘ or ‘contested.’
A ‘fault’ divorce refers to an individual in the marriage:
- Deserting their spouse
- Being impotent
- Committing adultery
- Abusing their spouse
- Prison term of five years or more
- Frequently becoming intoxicated
A ‘no-fault’ divorce is a divorce where neither party is held responsible.
An Uncontested Divorce Agreement
For an uncontested divorce agreement to be possible, both parties must be of the same opinion on all legal issues that judges look at when reviewing a divorce. Generally, the divorce action itself is not contested.
Disagreements arise in reference to:
- The allocation of marital property
- Custody rights
- Support and alimony payments
Filing an Uncontested Divorce Agreement
Most couples choose to file a no-fault divorce that is based on the permanent breakdown of the marriage. A no-fault, uncontested divorce can be filed as long as certain requirements are met. These requirements include that both spouses agree that the marriage is irreparably broken down.
Additionally, they must reach written agreements pertaining to:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Division of marital assets
- Health insurance
- Payment of taxes
Marital property/assets may include:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts/Financial investments
Obtaining a Hearing Date
If children are involved, couples may be required to attend a parent education class. Prior to obtaining a hearing date, the certificate from the completed parent education class (if applicable) and financial statements must be filed. Once these documents are filed, the court sets a hearing date.
Filing a Motion to Request a Waiver of Attendance
If a spouse is unable to or chooses not to attend the hearing, an attendance waiver must be approved by the court. This waiver has to be submitted prior to the day of the hearing. Unless the court accepts an attendance waiver, both spouses are required to attend the hearing.
During the hearing, the judge may inquire about the separation agreement or affidavit. When the judge determines that the marriage is irreparable, the separation agreement is accepted and an order is entered.
The Judgment Nisi
Thirty days later a judgment nisi is automatically entered. A judgment nisi is a transitional judgment, which, unless formally requested or appealed by one of the parties will become final.
In 90 days time, the judgment nisi will become final. For this reason, remarriage is not permitted until 120 days after the entry of the court order that approves the separation agreement.
Modifying the Separation Agreement
Modifications can be made to the separation agreement; however, these modifications must be made after the court approves the separation agreement, but before the entry of the judgment nisi. These modifications can be made as long as both parties agree; or, in the event that there has been significant changes in circumstances (with court approval).
If you are in need of an attorneys assistance in filing your uncontested divorce, contact Infinity Law Group today for a free consultation.