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Do a husband and wife both have to be present to file a joint petition for divorce-uncontested 1A?

Milton, MA |
Attorney answers 3


You both need to sign the joint petition. But, it can actually be filed by mail, if you have all of the required documentation. However, in Massachusetts, you will both have to appear in court for a final hearing.

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This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.


If both parties agree that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and agree on all other issues related to their marriage, as described in a Separation Agreement, then you can file a Joint Petition for Divorce under the provisions of Section 1A. The filing can be sent by mail. The Court will set a date and time for an uncontested divorce hearing, once you have filed a Joint Petition for Divorce, a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate, an Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown, a Certificate of Absolute Divorce or Annulment, a Separation Agreement, two Rule 401 Financial Statements, and two Certificates of Attendance at the Parents Apart Program (if there are minor children of the marriage).

In most cases, both you and your spouse must attend the uncontested divorce hearing and testify under oath that your marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown and that you signed the Separation Agreement freely and voluntarily. It is possible for only one party to appear at the hearing if there are special circumstances that prevent the other party from attending.

To be excused from the uncontesting hearing you must file a Motion and Affidavit stating the reasons why the party cannot attend. The Affidavit should also include the testimony necessary for the uncontested hearing. You should consult an attorney regarding the drafting of the necessary language.


You do not need to be present to file your divorce papers with the court, which can even be done by mail. Both parties will be required to attend any final hearing on their divorce, although attendance can be waived under certain circumstances. If you would like some assistance, please feel free to contact my office.