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Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce: The Best Divorce Money Can Buy

An Agreement in Principle

In Massachusetts, if a married couple seeks a divorce and the couple have come to an “agreement in principle” then they may obtain a Massachusetts uncontested divorce. In a Massachusetts uncontested divorce, unlike a contested divorce, the parties agree to the disposition of all assets and liabilities, as well as child support and alimony, when they file their Massachusetts divorce complaint. If any of these issues remain unresolved, then a Massachusetts contested divorce is warranted and the parties cannot file an uncontested Massachusetts divorce.

What is an “Agreement in Principle?”

An “agreement in principle” simply means that the parties have come to an agreement with respect to all the major issues of their divorce. This includes the division of both assets and liabilities, as well as agreements with respect to child support, child custody and alimony. If there are any disagreements on ANY of these issues, then the parties cannot obtain a Massachusetts uncontested divorce.

Retain An Attorney to Put the Verbal Agreement in Writing

The parties do not need to have anything in writing. The parties may retain an attorney to assist in drafting the party’s entire Separation Agreement. After the Massachusetts Divorce Agreement is put into writing, each party will have the opportunity to have the Separation Agreement reviewed by their own attorney, if desired.

No Attorneys Required, but it’s Helpful

However, there is no requirement that either party or both parties have counsel. It is necessary, however, that there is transparency, honesty, and that both parties understand exactly what they are agreeing to and signing. There is good faith from both parties in an uncontested Massachusetts Divorce.

It is suggested that at least one petitioner in a Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce obtain an attorney, as there is an enormous amount of paperwork to complete, and the process can be complicated for pro se litigants.

Attorney Anthony Rao has handled hundreds of Massachusetts Uncontested Divorces and is available at 617-953-0836 or via email at to discuss your questions regarding a Massachusetts Uncontesed Divorce. Our law firm provides flat-fee uncontested divorce packages for most Massachusetts uncontested divorces. Ask Attorney Rao how that works.

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2021 Massachusetts Child Support Worksheet: A Tool to Calculate Child Support in Massachusetts as of October 4, 2021

The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are used by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court to determine the amount of child support paid to the custodial parent from the noncustodial parent for the support and maintenance of the child. The guidelines are updated and reviewed by the Massachusetts Trial Court every four years to make appropriate adjustments based on numerous factors.

The quadrennial review by the Massachusetts Trial Court has been completed, and the new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are now to be used in all child support cases in Massachusetts. The new Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines take effect on October 4, 2021.

Preamble of the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

“These child support guidelines shall take effect on October 4, 2021, and shall be applied to all child support orders and judgments entered as of October 4, 2021. In recognition of the priority of the interests of the children of the Commonwealth, these guidelines are formulated to be used by all of the justices of the Trial Court. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that these guidelines apply in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order, regardless of whether the parents of the child are married or unmarried, the order is temporary or final, or the Court is deciding whether to approve an agreement for child support. There shall also be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of the child support order calculated under these guidelines is the appropriate amount of child support to be ordered. These guidelines are based on various considerations, including, but not limited to, each parent’s earnings, income, and other evidence of ability to pay. These guidelines are intended to be of assistance to attorneys and to parties in determining what level of payment would be expected given the relative income levels of the parties. In all cases where an order for child support may be established or modified, a guidelines worksheet must be filled out, regardless of the income of the parties.”

The Preamble to the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

2021 Massachusetts Child Support Calculator: A Tool to Determine the Amount of Child Support in Massachusetts

The actual 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are a substantive, twenty-six page document that provides litigants, judges and attorneys a detailed overview of the child support law in Massachusetts. However, Massachusetts child support orders are actually calculated by using the “2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.”

The Worksheet provides the parties with the child support order that is recommend by the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The number that the worksheet produces is a “rebuttable presumption.” Meaning, the child support judge is presumed to order the Worksheet amount, but this presumption can be rebutted by numerous factors.

About the Author: Attorney Anthony Rao, Esq. is a practicing attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and was admitted to the practice of law in 2006. As a former Child Support Enforcement Attorney for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Attorney Rao has handled thousands of Massachusetts Child Support Cases, and is available to discuss the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines and the 2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. He may be reached at 617-953-0836, or at

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The Uncontested Divorce: A Guide to the Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce Process

Uncontested Divorces: The Best Way To End The Unhappy Marriage

Over half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Divorces are usually acrimonious and extremely litigious. In Massachusetts, as an example, it is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to obtain divorce lawyers, as both spouses prepare for a long-fought court battle. Indeed, a contested divorce in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts often times will last years, and will cost both former spouses tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.

However, although uncommon, there is a small-percentage of divorcing spouses that have an amicable relationship. The marriage did not work out. But nonetheless, the spouses have an agreement with respect to their finances, their children, and their property. Both spouses are ready to accept and to move forward.

An uncontested divorce in Massachusetts is the most expeditious and cost efficient way of obtaining a divorce in Massachusetts, and while an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts requires voluminous amounts of paperwork, the expense and the toll the divorce takes on the parties and their children is exceedingly less than a hotly-contested divorce.

Below, we briefly go through the documents that are required for a Massachusetts uncontested divorce and explain each document and its importance.

The Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce: An Agreement Is Just The Beginning 

Divorce/Separation Agreement.  Obviously, out of all of the documents that are necessary to start an uncontested Massachusetts Divorce, the most important document is the Divorce Agreement.  This document must totally and completely resolve all matters that relate to the parties’ marriage.  This includes a parenting schedule, a child support order, division of all assets and debts, alimony (if applicable), health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, taxes, etc.  This list is not meant to be exhaustive.  Each case is different and you may have issues or concerns in your divorce that may not exist in another divorce case.  You must be careful with this document.  It is binding upon you, your spouse, and your children for a very, very long time.  If at all possible, I would strongly recommend retaining an attorney to assist in the entirety of this process, but if that is not practical, I would at least recommend that each party retain an attorney to independently review the Divorce Agreement between the parties.

Financial Statements of Both Parties.  In an uncontested Massachusetts Divorce, the parties are required to file financial statements.  The “Massachusetts Divorce Financial Statement Form” is created by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court and there are numerous forms to complete, dependent upon your financial circumstances.  For example, every individual must complete the “Massachusetts Financial Statement Form,” however, there are two separate forms to use dependent upon your gross income.  If you earn less than $75,000.00 per year, you may file the “Short Form Financial Statement.”  If, however, you earn more than $75,000.00 per year, you must file a “Long Form Financial Statement.”  This form, unlike the Short Form, must be notarized by a Notary Public.

Financial Statement Schedule A.  Now more than ever, we are an economy of small business owners.  Accordingly, if you are self-employed in Massachusetts you must file a “Financial Statement Schedule A,” along with your Short or Long Form Financial Statement.  This form gives the court a snapshot of your monthly expenses, revenues, etc., and is a vital tool in providing the court with a complete picture of your small business’s financial circumstances.

Financial Statement Schedule B.  If you own rental property and obtain income from said property, you must also complete “Financial Statement Schedule B.”  This form is used to provide the court and the other party with a snapshot of your annual rental incomes and expenses.  It is imperative that the information provided in this form is correct and up-to-date.

2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (If the parties have children).  It is imperative that the court insures that any child involved in a divorce proceeding are financially supported by both parents.  To that end, the “2021 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet” must be completed and filed with the Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce Packet.

Further, it is imperative the parties understand that the weekly child support figure the guidelines suggest is the child support figure the court will impose upon the parties.  However, the parties may agree to a higher or lower amount, but the parties must have articulable reasons as to why the order that deviates from the amount suggested by the “Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines.”  (“She doesn’t want that much” is not a valid reason, fyi).  

Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment.  The “Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment” is required at the outset of a Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce.  This form asks for basic information regarding your marriage, such as how long the marriage was, how many children were born of the marriage, etc.

Certified Copy of Your Marriage Certificate.  The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court requires that the parties file a certified copy of your marriage certificate upon the commencement of an uncontested Massachusetts Divorce.  A certified copy of your marriage certificate is available in the city or town where you were married, or you may obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate online here.

Joint Petition for Divorce.  The Massachusetts Family and Probate Court requires that the parties file ONE Joint Petition for Divorce.  This is a straight-forward document that each party must sign.  The Joint Petition for Divorce provides the court with the necessary information and the necessary request by both parties that their marriage be dissolved.

Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings.  Each party must complete their own “Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody Proceedings.”  This document certifies to the court that there are no current or closed custody cases involving the parties children.  Each party is required to file their own document and each party is required to sign the affidavit under the pains and penalties of perjury.

Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce:  The Uncontested Divorce Hearing 

After the filing of the Joint Petition or a Divorce, and all the attached documents, the court will schedule the matter for an uncontested divorce hearing.  

The uncontested divorce hearing itself is very brief. The court will review the parties’ divorce agreement to insure the agreement is fair and reasonable, and that there have been adequate provisions for each party and for the parties’ children.  After the court has reviewed the Divorce Agreement, the parties will be asked certain questions to determine that you have read the agreement; that you believe it to be fair reasonable under the circumstances; and, that you have had the opportunity to review your spouse’s financial statements, and believe those statements to be true.

Upon the completion of the uncontested Massachusetts divorce hearing, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court will send you a copy of the judgment of divorce for your records. The divorce will be absolute 120 days after the hearing, and the parties remain married until this “divorce nisi” period is over.

Attorney Anthony Rao, Esq. has handled hundreds of uncontested divorces throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  He is available for a free telephone consultation at 617-953-0836, or via email at: to discuss the uncontested divorce process in Massachusetts.