An amicable divorce is marriage dissolution where the parties have essentially agreed on all material terms of the breakup and is uncontested. Any Boston or Massachusetts divorce has to show grounds, which can be alleged as irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, also referred to as no-fault. You can also have an uncontested fault divorce.


Although you may be able to handle a simple divorce on your own if it was short-lived and had little assets and no children, most divorce filings should be handled by a divorce lawyer who can be sure that all the procedures have been followed and the applicable documents completed and filed.


Grounds for an Amicable Divorce


The easiest type of amicable divorce is based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship. You do have to file an Affidavit of Irretrievable Divorce listing the reasons. These can be simple such as stating that there is a lack of communication or that you no longer share common interests and that any attempt at counseling or reconciliation has failed.


1A Divorce


If you and your spouse file together, this is called a 1A divorce. All issues regarding child  support, custody, spousal support and property division have been settled. You do have to draft and file a Separation Agreement before filing your petition.


1B Divorce


In a 1B divorce, the same grounds are alleged but you can file separately though you do have to serve a Domestic Relations Summons and Complaint for Divorce on your spouse and wait 6 months before getting a trial date. For this proceeding, not all issues are settled though there may not be any formal challenge by your spouse. You can also file for temporary orders regarding support or custody while your divorce is pending. On the trial date, the judge will issue rulings on the various unresolved issues. In this proceeding, the parties can use mediation to settle their differences and if agreeable, may change their divorce to a 1A.


Relevant Documents


Along with the Affidavit of Irretrievable Divorce and the Separation Agreement, you will need the following documents:


  • Joint petition for divorce–if filing jointly
  • Financial Statements from each party
  • Certificate of Absolute Divorce Statistical Form
  • Certified copy of the marriage certificate


If there are children of the marriage, you will need to file:


  • Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Form
  • Child Support Guideline Worksheet
  • Affidavit regarding care or custody proceeding


Also, each parent must participate in and complete an approved parent education course.


Trial or Hearing


There are no jury trials in a divorce. The divorce hearing is referred to as the NISI. At the NISI, your Separation Agreement will be approved by the court if it is fair and reasonable to both sides. For this reason, you may wish to have a Boston divorce attorney draft or review your Separation Agreement, and any other documents, to be sure it will pass court review.


Divorce Waiting Period


In a divorce based on a Joint Petition for Divorce with a separation agreement, the court will issues its order 30 days after the hearing. The divorce will typically become final in 120 days after the NISI hearing when the final decree called an Absolute Divorce or Decree Absolute takes effect. If you did have to file a Complaint for Divorce, you have to wait 6 months after filing. You could amend your Complaint to a Joint Petition if you settle your differences within the 6-month period.


The waiting period is a holdover from English common law and designed to give the parties an opportunity to change their minds and to reconcile, if possible.


If you are considering a Boston divorce, consider retaining a divorce lawyer who can properly advise you on how to proceed, regardless if your divorce is amicable or not. A divorce is complicated and your documents need to drafted according to state law requirements or you could face unnecessary delays. Call Boston Divorce Attorney Doug Lovenberg today: (617) 973-9950