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South Yarmouth, MA |
Attorney answers 5


You can file and cite grounds as abandonment

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Criminal Law (all misdemeanor & felonies in District and Superior Courts), Drunk Driving and Drug arrests, Sex Offenses, SORB, Crimes involving Violence or Theft, Domestic (Divorce, Child Custody, Alimony and Child Support) and Family Law (Modification, Contempts & Paternity), Juvenile Law, Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders, Business Law, Personal Injury claims, Probate Law (Guardianships, Conservatorships & Estate Administration) and Legal Malpractice. For these and other areas, contact me. NOTE: This preceding message DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. It is not a protected or confidential communication. The statements made herein are not to be interpreted as representations or warranties of any kind. No reliance should be placed on the statements made herein. It is recommended that the recipient(s) should undertake their own research to reach their own opinion. The writer does not accept professional responsibility on this matter. TO CREATE an attorney-client relationship REQUIRES a signed retainer/fee agreement along with a retainer fee that must be received by my office.


Massachusetts doesn't have a quick way to get divorced. You have to serve your husband to get divorced. If you know his address, you can serve him there. If not, you will have to file a motion for alternative service. If you know the address of his other family, perhaps the court will allow you to serve him by serving on this address. If there is no other way to serve him, the court can order service by publishing in a newspaper.


You can still file for divorce claiming abandonment. The Court will likely require notice / service by publication. What that means is the court allows you to notify the other party of the divorce action/complaint by publishing a legal notice in a local paper. Typically I believe it is for 3 publications over a 30 day period. You take copies of the newspaper clippings and send them to the clerk at the court as proof of service. An attorney can help you through this process, but the clerks are often very helpful too when it comes to these types of divorce matters.

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The time it takes for obtaining a divorce in Massachusetts varies depending on the type of divorce you are seeking and on the particulars of your case.

To file for a divorce, you must file a certified copy of your marriage certificate, a divorce complaint and financial statements in the Probate and Family Court. There is a $215 filing fee unless the Court finds you eligible for a fee waiver upon filing an Affidavit of Indigency. Check with the court personnel to determine if you are eligible for a fee waiver based on your income. You can file for divorce due to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (no-fault) or by proving fault of the other party. IF both parties come to an agreement (on the various divorce related issues such as: child custody, support, visitation, alimony, and division of assets and debts), you can file a joint petition for divorce due to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Both parties must then appear in court for a brief hearing where a Judge determines if the agreement is fair. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement or if one party is unavailable, the other party may still file for divorce on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown. The court will hold a hearing and enter orders regarding both parties.

If you are filing a fault-based divorce, one of several grounds for divorce must be proven with evidence. In your case, desertion and nonsupport may be the best choices. For nonsupport, you must prove that your spouse had the ability to support you and that his or her refusal to provide the necessities of life is gross, wanton, and cruel. For desertion, you must prove that for at least a year, your husband has abandoned you without justification or provocation.

For a fault divorce and a divorce with a mutually agreed upon separation agreement, you can give notice and file for divorce relatively quickly. For a no-fault divorce without your husband's participation, you must wait 6 months after filing the complaint to to be scheduled for a hearing. After the divorce hearing under any divorce option, the Judge enters a Judgment of Divorce Nisi which becomes final in 90 days. The court order can include spousal support, child custody, child support, and visitation, and a division of property assets and debts.


As the others have said, you can file for divorce without his assistance. You will need to comply with certain notice requirements and, ultimately, a court will grant your divorce. It is not necessarily quick, and you need to follow steps correctly. We have represented clients in your position with great success, and I recommend that you reach out to an attorney to help you get this done. Good luck!

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