You obtain a certified copy of your marriage certificate and file a complaint for divorce.
While you can obtain a divorce on your own it is generally more efficient to work with an attorney.
I wish you all the best.
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You can file one of two kinds of contested divorces - either a fault-based divorce under Section 1 of the divorce statute - Chapter 208 (by claiming one of several types of fault, including, cruel and abusive treatment, desertion, adultery, for example) or a no-fault divorce under Section 1B (by claiming there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage). You initiate one of these by filing a Complaint (along with a certified marriage certificate as Attorney Robbins says) and a couple of other documents that you can learn about from information on the Probate and Family Court's Web site. You will get a Summons and then you must have him served with a copy of the Complaint and the Summons. It is going to be a bit more complicated than this and I would advise that you speak with the Lawyer for the Day at the Courthouse (if you are income-eigible for that advice) or see if you can get assistance from your local Legal Services office. The Probate and Family Court Web site has information about these options. I hope that this helps to get you started.
You really don’t need your husband’s signature to file. All you need to do is complete the appropriate complaint form, along with your marriage certificate and a filing fee, at your local probate and family court. Within a few weeks you will receive a summons for the court to be served by constable to your husband. The summons is good for some time, but not indefinitely so try to time your filing with your husband’s return. If you don’t know where your husband is, then you will have to file service by publication. Once the summons has been served the action is properly before the court and you can motion for temporary orders of child support as well as many other orders that may be useful to you.
It is unclear what your goals are, beyond divorce and child support, but I would recommend conferring with an attorney to explore your options.
This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.
So sorry for your troubles. You can file a complaint for divorce, and, if you are unable to obtain in-hand service on your husband, you can file a motion with the Court for service by publication in a newspaper in the MA community where your husband regularly resides here in MA.
Please note that the fact of his having an affair, in and of itself, is not very good grounds for a contested divorce. It only matters if he has “frittered away” significant marital assets in connection with his affair.
Best wishes to you.
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File documents, and if ou know where he is, serve him, and if not,serve by publication. Get a lawyer.
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More information is necessary to determine your situation. Although you can initiate the divorce on your own, the issue is whether the Commonwealth has jurisdiction over your Husband will determine whether you can establish a child support order here. If this becomes an international matter you will need a firm well versed in the international aspects of family law. If this is an interstate matter, you will need a firm with interstate family law experience. My firm has experience in both of these areas with three senior attorneys who are fellows with the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and contacts nationally and internationally.
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