Skip to main content

What County do I File my Divorce in?

Map Courtesy of Digital-Topo-Maps.com 

In Massachusetts, the county that you file your Joint Petition for Divorce or your Complaint for Divorce in is controlled by M.G.L. c. 208 s 6.

Assuming that Massachusetts has jurisdiction to hear your case (which we explain in this previous post), you should file in the probate court in the county where either you or your spouse lives, unless one of you still resides in the county where you last lived together, in which case you should file in that county.

To figure out how that standard applies in your case, answer these questions to figure out where you should file:

Question 1:  Do you or your spouse still live in the county where you last lived together?  If Yes, then file in that county.  If no, then continue to Question 2.

Question 2:  Do you both live in Massachusetts?  If Yes, then you can file in either the county where you live, or the county where your spouse lives.  If no, then continue to Question 3.

Question 3:  Does one of you live in Massachusetts?  If Yes, then you can file in the county in Massachusetts where one of you lives.  If No, then you should file in the county that you last lived together in Massachusetts.

If you never lived together in Massachusetts and neither of you lives in Massachusetts now, then review our previous post on jurisdiction because there is a good chance, you cannot file in Massachusetts.

There are Two Exceptions to the above described rules:

Exception 1:  In the event of hardship or inconvenience to either party, the court having jurisdiction may transfer such action for hearing to a court in a county in which such party resides.

Exception 2:  In cases where this is a potential conflict of interest, the court having jurisdiction may transfer the action to another county.  For example, if a court employee is getting divorced it would not be fair to them or their spouse to have the case heard in the court where the employee works.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the purpose of the Divorce Nisi waiting period?

In Massachusetts the statutory waiting period after a Judgment of Divorce and before the divorce becomes final (or absolute) is called the Nisi period. After a divorce case settles or goes to trial, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This waiting period serves the purpose of allowing parties to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. If the Judgment of Divorce Nisi has issued but not become final yet, and you and your spouse decide you don't want to get divorced, then you can file a Motion to Dismiss and the Judgment will be undone. Although many of my clients who are getting divorced think the idea of getting back together with their ex sounds crazy, I have had cases where this happened. In addition to offering a grace period to change your mind, the Nisi period has three other legal effects: 1. The most obvious effect of the waiting period is that you cannot remarry during the Nisi period, be

Does a Criminal Record affect Child Custody?

If one of the parents in a custody case has a criminal record, the types of crimes on their record could have an effect on their chances of obtaining custody. In custody cases the issue is always going to come down to whether or not the best interests of the child might be affected. In the most extreme case, in which one parent has been convicted of first degree murder of the other parent, the law specifically prohibits visitation with the children until they are of a suitable age to assent. Similarly, but to a less serious degree, in making custody and visitation determinations the court will consider crimes that would cause one to question the fitness of a parent. These types of crimes would obviously include any violent crime convictions which could call into question whether the children would be in danger around a parent who has shown themselves to resort to violence when faced with conflict. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse offenses would call into question a parent&#

The Questions that Lawyers and Mediators aren't asking but should: Let's talk about Pronouns

I recently had the opportunity to train with two of the most prominent mediators in Massachusetts: John Fiske and Diane Neumann . Each time they run a training, John and Diane share what they think is the most important question for a client to answer to have an effective mediation. John says that he thought the most important question is "What do I want?" But then he will tell you, with a knowing smile, that Diane disagreed with him and she would say that the most important question for a client to answer is "Who am I?" I agree with Diane. The best lawyers and mediators ask their clients not just about what they want, but also deep questions about the clients' identity, goals, and values in order to help the clients resolve conflict in the most effective way possible. Despite knowing this, we often fail to ask clients the simplest questions when we first meet them or have them fill out an intake. We fail to give them an opportunity to answer the question “W