Judicial Process in Massachusetts

Judicial process varies from state to state. In Massachusetts, divorce settlements are governed by three factors:

  1. Statute (Mass. General Laws, Chapter 208), and additional pertinent chapters
  2. Case Law
  3. Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure.

As grounds for divorce, Massachusetts has both fault and no fault grounds.

Grounds for Fault Divorce

  • Adultery, impotency, utter desertion for one year, gross and confirmed habits of intoxication, cruel and abusive treatment, gross/wanton neglect.
  • Proof of fault on public record.


  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
  • No inquiry into cause of divorce.

A divorce may be either contested or uncontested.

Contested Divorce (for both fault and no fault)

  • Complaint filed by either spouse and served on the other spouse. Service is traditionally done at the individuals place of business by a sheriff, process server, or police officer.
  • Numerous motions are filed in the trial court which the parties attend.
  • A pretrial hearing is held, often with recommendations by the judge. This is not an inexpensive hearing.
  • Trial in order for the judge to decide the final terms of the divorce settlement.
  • The final divorce agreement is signed and notarized and submitted to the court.
  • Judgement of divorce nisi issued after trial


  • There is only one hearing before the judge, for which Diane Neumann & Associates prepares the divorce agreement and all court forms.
  • Judgment of divorce nisi is issued 30 days after hearing. The final judgement of divorce  is effective 90 days after the judgment of divorce nisi, therefore the divorce will become final four months after the hearing date for a no fault, uncontested divorce.

There is no requirement that a couple attain a legal separation in order to obtain a divorce in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Divorce effective 90 days after judgment of divorce nisi.