Divorce: What’s Right for Me?

There are two major types of divorce: contested and uncontested; in both situations a Boston Divorce Lawyer can guide you through the process and protect your rights.

Uncontested (Flat Fee) Divorce
An uncontested divorce means that one or both spouses have filed for a divorce based upon irreconcilable differences and the other spouse is in agreement that the divorce proceed.  There are two types of uncontested divorce: mutual and negotiated divorce.  A mutual uncontested divorce is the cheapest and easiest way to achieve divorce.  In this type of divorce, the parties are in agreement about all of the issues and both have the primary and sole goal of getting the divorce processed.  Massachusetts has enacted two statutes that can simplify the divorce process: no-fault divorce and uncontested divorce.  The no-fault statute means that Massachusetts courts do not consider who may be at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, this factor becomes irrelevant and spouses do not need to spend time and money assessing blame for the failure of the marriage.

A negotiated divorce is a bit more complicated but, depending on the parties, can also be achieved relatively inexpensively and quickly.  In this situation, the parties work to negotiate a comprehensive agreement detailing all of the intricacies related to the divorce of the couple. Attorney Melcher will meet with you to explain the divorce process and review your legal rights in detail; but most importantly, to understand what you aim to achieve via the divorce process.  As the client, you direct the negotiation – your attorney is there to work for you and help you to achieve your goals.

Contested Divorce
If you and your spouse are simply unable to come to an agreement on your own, the contested divorce will be your solution.  Divorce is a traumatic affair whether it be amicable or contested; but, a contested divorce is the most trying on each spouse.  Attorney Melcher will help to guide you through the complex procedures in the court, to help you reach your end goal: separation and divorce while retaining a just portion of your assets and securing peace of mind.

If you decide to pursue a contested divorce, the first step is to file for divorce with the Court. The filing allows a spouse to let the other spouse (and the Court) know that they will be seeking divorce.  Once the filing is complete, then you will receive an official summons to court and your spouse has 20 days to file his/her answer or any counterclaims. Thus begins the Discovery and negotiating phase between spouses and attorneys.  Both spouses have 45 days under Rules 4-1 and 410 to exchange mandatory financial disclosures. The goal of these disclosures is to level the playing field and ensure that both spouses are operating with the same financial records and information. This will give a true picture of the financial state of the marriage, its debts and assets.  Settlement can happen at this point or, indeed, at any point throughout the contested divorce process.  As your attorney, Attorney Melcher will be constantly searching for the quickest, fairest resolution to the issues while achieving your goals.

If no settlement is possible, the divorce action will proceed and the first time you will likely be called to Court will arrive shortly at a temporary orders hearing.  The temporary orders are normally called for within the first three months.  Despite being called “temporary” these orders can last throughout the divorce process. In fact, Judges do not usually change temporary orders, and they will only consider doing so if there is a substantial change.  Therefore, it is imperative that you be prepared for this hearing and have a plan of action decided regarding all of the important issues: financial support, child custody, guardian ad litem (“GAL”) appointment, etc.

The next step is the pre-trial conference. This is a vital meeting between the spouses and their attorneys where 98% of divorces are actually determined – eliminating the need for trial.  However, if you are not able to come to an agreement, the Judge will schedule a date for the upcoming trial.

Trial can be an exhausting ordeal and once it is over, results are not immediate.  There will be a waiting time for the Judge to consider all of the evidence revealed during the trial and past case history precedent so that he may finally come to a decision – sometimes not until six months later (or more).

As your attorney, Attorney Melcher will take care of all of the procedural details and help you to focus on achieving positive results. A contested divorce will never be a pleasant experience, but with Attorney Melcher guiding you through the process, you will not be left in the dark.  My goal is to consistently keep my Client advised of happenings and  their rights while guiding them through the course of the divorce process and always, Attorney Melcher will place your goals in the forefront.  When you need a Boston Divorce Lawyer, Contact Attorney Melcher today for a FREE consultation.