MGL Ch.208 Sec.1B: Contested Divorce

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Massachusetts General Laws: Chapter 208 - Divorce

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Section 1B. Irretrievable breakdown of marriage; commencement of action; waiting period; unaccompanied complaint; procedure

Section 1B. An action for divorce on the ground of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage may be commenced by the filing of the complaint unaccompanied by the signed statement and dissolution agreement of the parties required in section one A.

No earlier than six months after the filing of the complaint, there shall be a hearing and the court may enter a judgment of divorce nisi if the court finds that there has existed, for the period following the filing of the complaint and up to the date of the hearing, a continuing irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, at the election of the court hereunder, the aforesaid six month period may be waived to allow the consolidation for the purposes of hearing a complaint commenced under this section with a complaint for divorce commenced by the opposing party under section one.

The filing of a complaint for divorce under this section shall not affect the ability of the defendant to obtain a hearing on a complaint for divorce filed under section one, even if the aforesaid six month period has not yet expired.

Said six month period shall be determined from the filing of a complaint for divorce. In the event that a complaint for divorce is commenced in accordance with the provisions of section one A or is for a cause set forth under section one, and said complaint is later amended to set forth the ground established in this section, the six month period herein set forth shall be computed from the date of the filing of said complaint.

As part of the entry of the judgment of divorce nisi, appropriate orders shall be made by the court with respect to custody, support and maintenance of children, and, in accordance with the provisions of section thirty-four, for alimony and for the disposition of marital property.

Nothing in the foregoing shall prevent the court, at any time prior to judgment, from making temporary orders for custody, support and maintenance or such other temporary orders as it deems appropriate, including referral of the parties and the children, if any, for marriage or family counseling.

Prior to the entry of judgment under this section, in the event that the parties file the statement and dissolution agreement as required under section one A hereinabove, then said action for divorce shall proceed under said section one A.