Your initial filing should include: 1) Complaint for Divorce (MGL 208 § 1-B Contested), 2) Certified Marriage Certificate, 3) Affidavit of Custody and Care, 4) Statistical Form, 5) Filing fee + summons fee (if you are indigent you can request a waiver, but the filing will be delayed — see clerk). In a few weeks you will receive a summons that must be served to your husband by constable — the summons will describe what needs to be served with the summons. The constable will send you a confirmation of service to your husband which must be returned to the Probate Court. Your divorce is now before the court.
Most of the forms required for these filings are available at the following link:
You can request a resumption of your maiden name on the complaint for divorce — no need for a separate change of name form.
One adulterous relationship will have virtually no impact on the outcome of the proceedings — don’t let it have an impact on the way you approach the divorce.
When your complaint is before the Court you can file a motion for temporary orders (custody, alimony, child-support, etc.). You should schedule a hearing on the motion through the clerk and notify your husband of the date at least 10 days before the hearing date. (You do not need to file a separate complaint for support)
In preparation for the hearing (and attached to the motion submitted to the court and the hearing notice to your husband) you should prepare a memo supported by affidavit and include a proposed order. For the hearing you will also need a financial statement (based on your financial situation).
While I have provided you with a procedural outline and access to the required forms, it is beyond this forum to provide you with an understanding of the statutory and case law that governs divorce in Massachusetts. Without that understanding you will be going through the process blindfolded. You may obtain a divorce, but it is unlikely that you will optimize your options and you may make some costly mistakes. You need to confer with an attorney. You need to develop a strategy that will work within the legal framework and not just navigate through the procedural rules. If you don’t think you can afford an attorney there are lawyer-for-a-day programs in the probate court that offer free advice. You should also consider finding an attorney who practices Limited Assistance Representation.
This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.
You should be filing a complaint for divorce, not a petition for divorce. A petition for divorce is only applicable to a Section 1A uncontested divorce. All Massachusetts Probate and Family Court forms are available online at http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/forms.html.
You do not need to fill out a separate complaint for separate support if you are filing a contested divorce, as all spousal and child support questions will be addressed as part of the divorce case. You should file a motion for temporary orders when you file the divorce complaint, seeking child support and whatever spousal support you are asking for. Speak to a clerk at the courthouse about the best way to get immediate temporary support when you are representing yourself -- they may have you fill out the complaint for support rather than helping you do a motion.
You and your spouse will each need your own separate financial statement. Use the short form if you make less than $75,000, the long form if you make more than that. If you are self-employed, you will need to fill out Schedule A in addition to your main financial statement. If you collect rental income from a rental property, you will need to fill out Schedule B. You should consider only your own individual income in filling out the financial statement forms.
I presume by "Cert. of Divorce" you mean the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment, which you will also need.
The fact that the plaintiff in your divorce was unfaithful may be relevant, if provable or admitted, to the question of division of marital assets. However, it is only one of many factors considered by the court when deciding how marital assets should be divided and is usually not nearly as important as people think. If it only happened once, it is unlikely to play a major role in the divorce.
The other attorneys have provided you with a solid procedural overview of how to initiate a divorce in Massachusetts. It is best for you to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are protecting your legal interests but if you choose to represent yourself, be sure to educate yourself more about the substantive law that the Court will apply in deciding issues of property division, alimony, custody and child support. I have provided two links to free online resources that may be of assistance to you.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney.
The other attorneys have given you exceptional advice, the only thing I would add is that like trying to do your own mechanical work, plumbing work or other type of trade, doing it oneself is very risky and if you can afford counsel, it is well worth it. If there are any financial issues at stake be careful. I wish you all the best and take care.
Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.
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