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How the Massachusetts divorce process compares to others

When individuals choose to marry, they do so in accordance with the specific marital laws enacted by the state in which they opt to say “I do.” For example, some states have waiting periods in between when a couple files for a marriage license and when they may legally marry, whereas other states do not enforce a waiting period. Just as states have unique marriage laws, many have unique divorce laws as well.

When comparing the divorce process in Massachusetts to the divorce processes in other states, some interesting contrasts are brought into focus. For example, a Massachusetts family law court will not recognize a divorce as final until a minimum of 120 days has passed since a divorce petition has been filed. This time constraint holds true even if a divorcing couple has already reached a settlement.

120 days may seem like an unreasonably long amount of time to wait for the state’s recognition of one’s divorce. However, residents in other states often must wait far longer than 120 days. Michigan residents must wait a minimum of 240 days, while residents of Nebraska must wait a staggering 420 days or more.

In addition, Massachusetts enforces a far less expensive filing fee than other states do. In Massachusetts, couples must generally pay around $215 to file for divorce. In Pennsylvania this fee is more than $300 and in Minnesota this fee is more than $400. While the Massachusetts divorce process may be frustrating at times, it seems to be far less taxing from a financial and administrative perspective generally than the processes in many other states tend to be.

Source: Find the Best, “Compare Divorce and Family Laws,” Accessed April 2014

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