How Long Does a Divorce Take Massachusetts?

Main waiting for Massachusetts divorce to be finalized.

In Massachusetts, the duration of a divorce process varies depending on whether it’s contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce (1A) can take about 3-6 months for the court proceedings plus a 120-day waiting period after the hearing for the divorce to become final. In contrast, a contested divorce (1B) might take around 12-18 months, with a 90-day waiting period after the hearing before the divorce is finalized. These time frames are subject to change based on court backlogs and individual circumstances. The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court aims to complete contested divorces within 14 months, but this is not guaranteed​.

Divorce is a significant life event, and understanding the timeline can help you manage expectations and plan accordingly. In Massachusetts, the duration of the divorce process can vary greatly, depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on all terms, can be resolved quicker than a contested one, where disagreements must be ironed out.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
in Massachusetts

For an uncontested divorce, the timeline is more straightforward. After filing the necessary paperwork, there is a mandatory waiting period of 30 days before the court hearing. If all goes well, the divorce can be finalized shortly after the hearing. Contested divorces, on the other hand, have a more complex timeline. They require a discovery period, possible pre-trial motions, and a trial, all of which can extend the process significantly.

Affordable Massachusetts Divorce Solutions

An affordable divorce is possible. At Afford Law, our fees are based on your income, so the less you earn, the less you pay. Our mission is to provide experienced legal help you can afford.

If you can’t afford our lower rates for a traditional attorney-client relationship, you have another option. Our legal coaching service can save you money and still give you access to a skilled attorney. In this arrangement, you represent yourself in court while we work with you behind the scenes to prepare you every step of the way. This service is available to you for one low monthly fee.

The Role of Mediation in a
Massachusetts Divorce

Mediation can be a beneficial step in expediting the divorce process. It involves a neutral third party who helps the couple reach an agreement on various issues. In Massachusetts, mediation is encouraged to reduce the court’s burden and speed up the resolution. The success of mediation can significantly cut down the time it takes to finalize a divorce.

Impact of Litigation on Timing

If your divorce case goes to litigation, the timeline can extend to over a year. The complexity of your assets, custody issues, and other disputes will contribute to the length of this process. It’s essential to be prepared for a longer journey if your divorce involves going to court.

Finalizing Your Massachusetts Divorce

Once all issues are resolved, whether through mediation or litigation, the final step is for the court to issue a judgment of divorce. In Massachusetts, there is then a waiting period, known as the nisi period, which lasts for 90 days for a contested divorce and 120 days for an uncontested divorce before your divorce becomes absolute.

Conclusion and Moving Forward

Understanding the potential timelines can help you better prepare for the road ahead. While the process can be daunting, knowing what to expect provides a sense of control during this transitional period of your life.

Legal Disclaimer

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances and receive tailored guidance.

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