Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I schedule a consult?

The best way to schedule an initial, one-hour consult is to contact our front desk associate. Please contact Matthew at (978)-957-7000.

Is there a consult fee?

Yes, there is a consult fee of $350.00.

What should I bring to my consult?

It depends on the case as well as where your case is procedurally. You should certainly bring with you any and all documents filed with the Court in the current case. If your involved in a complaint for modification or a contempt action then please bring the applicable prior Judgments or Orders with you. Additionally, if there are financial issues in dispute then prior year tax returns, recent pay-stubs, and prior financial statements are helpful and allow our office to provide more accurate advise. Nonetheless, we are able to access many of  the court documents from an online database maintained by the Court. If you are in the beginning stages of a divorce, please bring with you a marriage certificate.

What are my options when considering a divorce?

In Massachusetts there are two options available when considering filing for divorce. If you have reached a full agreement with your spouse as to all of the issues needing to be addressed in your divorce you can file a Joint Petition for Divorce. Under MGL C 208 S1A. You and your spouse will need to attend a brief uncontested hearing after your agreement and other pleadings are filed with the Court where the Court will review the agreement to ensure it is fair and reasonable. However, most divorce actions are filed as a Complaint for Divorce under MGL C 208S1B. If you do not have a full agreement as to all issues in the divorce then you must file in this manner. If you have not yet reached a full agreement however you have limited issues in dispute then mediation may be right for you to resolve those remaining issues so that you may file a Joint Petition.  

How long will my divorce take?

In Massachusetts, a contested divorce action is placed on a fourteen (14) month track assignment.  Theoretically your divorce action 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. 

How much will my divorce cost?

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 are able to 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.