How Do I Start the Divorce Process in Massachusetts

June 16, 2023 O'Connor Family Law Divorce

Divorce can be a complicated and emotional process, and starting the process can be overwhelming. If you’re considering divorce in Massachusetts, it’s essential to understand the steps involved to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. In this blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to start the divorce process in Massachusetts, including some useful tips to help you along the way. This infographic detailing the general divorce process as we navigate it in our firm may help you gain a deeper understanding of what to expect throughout your own divorce. To learn more about the Massachusetts divorce process, download our free e-book today. Note: While it may be beneficial to do so, you are in no way required to retain an attorney for your divorce process. You can navigate this process on your own although you may not be aware of your rights or the best strategies available to you.


To file for divorce in Massachusetts, you must meet specific residency requirements. You or your spouse must have lived in Massachusetts for at least one year before filing for divorce. If you’re unsure whether you meet the residency requirements, it’s best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.

Step 2: Gather Your Financial Documents

Before starting the divorce process, it’s essential to gather all your financial documents, including bank statements, tax returns, and investment accounts. These documents will help you determine the value of your assets and debts, which will be essential during the divorce proceedings.

Step 3: File a Complaint for Divorce

To start the divorce process, you must file a Complaint for Divorce with the Probate and Family Court in the county where you or your spouse lives. The Complaint for Divorce outlines the reasons for the divorce and the relief you’re seeking, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division.

Step 4: Serve Your Spouse

Once you’ve filed the Complaint for Divorce, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the Complaint and a Summons. You can serve your spouse through a constable or sheriff or by certified mail. Your spouse then has 20 days to respond to the Complaint.

Step 5: Attend a Pre-Trial Conference

After your spouse responds to the Complaint, the court will schedule a pre-trial conference. The pre-trial conference is an opportunity for you and your spouse to discuss the issues involved in the divorce and try to reach an agreement. If you can’t reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial.

Starting the divorce process in Massachusetts can be a daunting task, but by following these steps, you can ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. If you’re considering divorce, it’s essential to consult with an experienced divorce attorney from O’Connor Family Law who can guide you through the process and protect your rights.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you navigate the divorce process.