A joint petition is the easiest type of divorce there is. Not only is it the simplest, but this type of divorce is cheaper in Massachusetts. You may recognize it as a 1A or uncontested divorce.
If you and your spouse want to file a joint petition, you can get free divorce forms online. But first, you both must agree on how to handle the divorce proceedings. Essentially, you’re writing your Judgement of Divorce and are asking the judge to grant your request.
If you’re filing an uncontested divorce, you’re doing more than just submitting some forms. You and your spouse confirm that you have valid reasons for divorce, and it’s because of those reasons you quit the marriage.
Now, you must submit the petition as you have come to a fair and amicable agreement. If the order pleases the judge, they will then grant your request for a divorce vs separation and will declare the affidavit as an Order of the Court.
It is a binding agreement spelling out all the rights and responsibilities of each party. It makes provisions for child support, alimony, division of property, or other assets and issues.
However, if you or your spouse want to make changes, you both must agree to it. Take care to write the agreement properly or else it may be difficult to make changes later. This type of divorce is cheaper only if everything goes well.
If you and your spouse can’t agree on a change, petition the court to change the provisions. Make changes only when there is a substantial need. A modification can take months (and even years) while increasing the cost of the divorce.
The cost is one reason couples insist on using the DIY divorce. When it’s done by an attorney, however, they can plan for these kinds of situations or circumstances. An experienced attorney will draft an agreement that leaves room for changes, especially for children. By hiring a professional, it saves the couple money and time.
Couples can spend years in the divorce process trying to undo the results of a DIY divorce gone wrong. There should be only three steps to an uncontested divorce:
- Meet with the attorney and create a plan
- Sign the documents
- Go to court
Someone with legal experience knows what can and will go wrong in the courtroom, so they prepare for it. They avoid costly mistakes and horrible consequences by writing a proper agreement.
What about the Children?
If you live in Massachusetts and have children under the age of 18, they require you to take a class. This class helps parents deal with separation and divorce so that it lessens the negative effects on the children.
The court may waive this requirement however, attendance is mandatory in most cases. Couples only have to attend the course twice, but they cannot be in the same classroom.
According to the 2018 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, child support is likely reduced if the children live with each of the parents equally throughout the year. The Guidelines set a standard of living for the child. The children should be able to enjoy the same quality of living in either home.
The formula also provides that children have a primary residence and live a third of their time in the other home. This type of divorce is cheaper in Massachusetts, and if you’re the primary home, the 1A divorce is a huge saving. If the child lives with his father, he is also responsible for providing childcare, clothing, and any extracurricular activities such as sports or other activities.