In Massachusetts, a contested divorce action is placed on a fourteen (14) month track assignment. Theoretically your divorce should be resolved either by agreement or by a trial within fourteen (14) months from the date the divorce was filed with the Court. However, many factors such as the contested issues, the amount of discovery needed, and your Judge’s docket all determine how long your individual divorce will take.

Ryder & Phelps, P.C. are aware that hiring lawyers is a costly endeavor, and consequently many of our prospective clients have many questions about what a divorce or a modification action will cost. The true answer is it depends on many factors. Some of the common factors affecting cost are the complexity of the issues, the number of court hearings, and whether parties can negotiate in good faith with one another. According to a recent study conducted, the average cost for a simple divorce in Massachusetts is approximately $12,600. In divorces involving a dispute over alimony or property division that cost increases to $18,3000 and furthermore in cases involving custody disputes the average cost increases to $20,200.

Massachusetts does not have a process of legal separation. However, there is a procedure to file for separate support. This process can be filed if you are married and your spouse has left you, fails to support you, if you and your spouse are living separately due to justifiable cause or if you and your spouse are living together but have justifiable cause to live apart. Justifiable cause is defined as actions such as abuse, adultery, and or desertion. It is important to note that a file for separate support is not a divorce or a legal separation, but we are prepared to aid you in both procedures.

The difference between an annulment and divorce is that a divorce is the legal ending of a marriage while an annulment recognizes and claims that a marriage was never legally a marriage. In Massachusetts there are very few reasons why an annulment can be processed including incest, marriage to someone who is already in a civil union, age limitations, fraud, and if one or both spouses did not have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage at that time. We have experience in obtaining our clients both divorces as well as annulments.

A no-fault divorce is often less time consuming and less expensive than a fault-based divorce because one need not prove marital fault/misconduct for the court to grant the divorce. You may file a divorce on fault grounds if the divorce is due to adultery, inability to engage sexually if this was not disclosed prior to the marriage, cruelty, insanity..etc. However, even if you could theoretically file for fault grounds many clients seek to file for divorce on no-fault grounds anyhow as often times the result is the same. We are devoted to protecting your interests and practice a holistic approach to counseling you on your divorce matters.

Alimony and child support are two separate forms of payment by a spouse or ex-partner. The purpose of alimony is for one spouse to economically support a dependent spouse who is unable to sustain their prior station in life. In Massachusetts alimony is  governed in large part by the Alimony Reform Act’s criteria such as the length of the marriage, the health of the spouses, and the employment of both parties. You are entitled to child support if you have primary custody of your children. You are entitled to child support if you have shared custody of your children and your ex-spouse/partner’s income is greater than yours. Visit out Blog page to read more on these topics, with articles written by our attorneys.

An uncontested Divorce (1A) occurs when you and your spouse reach a full agreement on your divorce prior to the filing of the divorce. The no-fault (1A) divorce does not require a trial or for both parties to be represented by counsel. The process is generally simpler, faster, and less expensive than a contested divorce. We offer mediation services to assist the parties interested in pursuing an uncontested divorce.

In Massachusetts if you have children under the age of 18 then you must take a mandatory parenting education course. These courses are available online during Covid-19. You must register for an approved program within 30 days of a complaint being filed. You certificate showing completion of the parent education program must be filed with the Court in order to be divorced. 

A parent coordinator is an attorney who assists the separated parents in the resolution of their parenting disputes. A parent coordinator plays the role of a facilitator of conversation and helps both parties move towards an agreement. The parenting coordinator may enter directives which bind the parties in the event they are unable to resolve their agreements by agreement.