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How Long after a Divorce do I have to wait before getting Re-married?

In Massachusetts there are statutory waiting periods that control when the divorce becomes final (also called Absolute). Until the divorce is officially final you cannot remarry anywhere without committing bigamy (i.e. being married to two people).

In Massachusetts the length of this waiting period depends on the type of divorce case.

In a Joint Petition for Divorce under Section 1A of M.G.L. c. 208, if both parties agree that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and agree on all other issues related to their marriage, as described in a Separation Agreement, then you can file a Joint Petition for Divorce. The Court will set a date and time for an uncontested divorce hearing, once you have filed a Joint Petition for Divorce, a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate, an Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown, a Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment, a Separation Agreement, two Rule 401 Financial Statements, and two Certificates of Attendance at the Parents Apart Program (if there are minor children of the marriage).

In most cases, both you and your spouse must attend the uncontested divorce hearing and testify under oath that your marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown. The Judge will then issue Findings of Fact and if the Judge finds that your marriage is irretrievably broken down, then a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue after thirty (30) days, and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days.

This means that if you file a Joint Petition for Divorce you are not legally and officially divorced until 120 days after the divorce hearing date.

Under Section 1 or 1B of M.G.L. c. 208, if only one person in the marriage is ready to tell the Court that the marriage is over, or if you cannot agree with your spouse on other issues related to the divorce (such as the division of property, custody of children, amount of support, etc.), then you must file a Complaint for Divorce. If the parties are unable to settle their divorce case, then a trial will be held, and after reviewing both parties' proposals and the evidence, the Court will issue a Judgment of Divorce Nisi and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. Similarly after 6 months have passed since the date of service, a Complaint for Divorce may be settled and a Separation Agreement presented to the Court. If the Court approves the Separation Agreement then the Court will issue a Judgment of Divorce Nisi and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days.

This means that if you file a Complaint for Divorce, whether or not there is a trial or a settlement, you are not legally and officially divorced until 90 days after the issuance of the Judgment of Divorce Nisi.

In addition, once the divorce is final there is typically a three-day waiting period for obtaining a marriage license after the application is submitted to your town or city hall. However, it is possible to apply to the Probate Court for a waiver of this three-day period for good cause.

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