Looking for Massachusetts’ rules on marriage, divorce, child custody, and child support? Want to find Massachusetts state court forms and instructions and local court websites? Here’s where to start. For a wide range of other articles on family law in Massachusetts, see the Resources by State section on this site.
One of the reasons divorce is so painful is because it's hard to look at objectively. Marriage is a legal contract, but no other contract on the face of the earth is as entangled with emotion as a marriage. Love, guilt, regret and nostalgia are all mixed together when you have to end your marriage contract with a divorce.
The terms "minor child" and "unemancipated child" are often used interchangeably, but they do have different legal meanings. The term "minor" according to Black's Law Dictionary means "an infant or person who is under the age of legal competence." In Massachusetts the "age of legal competence" is 18 years of age.
If you're wondering whether you can annul your marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this article explains what an annulment is, when a marriage can be annulled, and the effects of an annulment.
Fault Versus No-Fault Divorce Massachusetts recognizes both “fault” and “no-fault” divorces. In both types of divorce, you need to identify a specific reason for the breakup in your initial divorce paperwork. The difference is that in a “fault divorce,” the reason for the divorce is based on your spouse’s fault or misconduct.
All divorcing couples must divide their marital property and assign marital debts as part of the divorce process. Massachusetts law requires the division of property in a divorce to be equitable, meaning that it must be fair, though not necessarily equal.
What is alimony? Alimony is money one spouse is ordered to pay to the other following a divorce. These days, alimony is often referred to as "spousal support," although Massachusetts law still uses the older term. Do divorce courts always award alimony? No. It depends on the financial circumstances of the spouses.
Separation agreements (agreements that deal with divorce-related issues such as child custody and support, alimony and the division of property) either “merge” or “survive” a judgment of divorce. This article provides an overview of these terms.
My ex-spouse (or “ex”) and I have an agreement and court order that says we share college expenses equally, but my ex isn't paying. What can I do? You can file a motion (request) to enforce your agreement and for contempt with the divorce court. “Contempt” refers to a violation of a court’s order.