Do I Need to File for Divorce Before Mediation?
When to File?
You have more than one option for getting divorced in Massachusetts. You can file for divorce and serve your spouse the traditional way. This starts the divorce action in the courtroom where you and your spouse will be adversarial parties in the action. Starting your divorce on an adversarial route, however, isn’t your only option. You can also negotiate a separation agreement with your spouse and then file jointly. This cuts out the need for an initial filing, service of papers on your spouse, and litigation in the courtroom. Needless to say, this saves you time, money, and stress.
Agree First, File Later
If you have chosen mediation, you may be wondering at what point you should file. This is a good question because you start the divorce process once you file. You will want wait to file for divorce until you have a signed and notarized separation agreement. The court will then set a final hearing. If the judge signs off on your agreement at the hearing, he or she will enter your divorce judgment.
Once the divorce nisi period has passed, the court will finalize your divorce automatically. This is a streamlined way to get divorced in Massachusetts because it cuts out the lengthy process of divorce litigation.
If you have already filed for a contested divorce, you can change it to a joint filing if you and your spouse can create a separation agreement. There is nothing tying you down to the litigation process. In fact, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts encourage this because the court docket has a backlog of divorce cases. Every contested divorce takes us precious court time and resources. Mediating your divorce and filing jointly saves everyone time and money.
If you want to file for divorce jointly, you should speak with an experienced divorce mediator. A mediator can help you file for divorce in an efficient and economical way. You will first need to create a separation agreement that includes all the terms and conditions of your divorce. This is the hard part, but it’s doable with the help of a skilled mediator. Filing jointly can save you time, money, and emotional turmoil. It is often best for you, your family, and your co-parenting relationship with your spouse.
Do you need to file for divorce in Massachusetts? Mediation Advantage Services is here to help. Polly A. Tatum is highly experienced in Massachusetts family law and can help you and your spouse get through the divorce process in one piece. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.