Each divorce case is unique and the answer to this question depends on many factors such as:
- which grounds you are using;
- how rapidly or slowly you are able to complete each step in the process;
- how long it takes to find and serve your spouse;
- if your spouse’s address is unknown, serving him/her will take longer;
- how complete and accurate your papers are;
- how busy and back logged the court is;
- whether your spouse contests or disagrees any part of the divorce; and
- whether there are temporary orders or negotiations in process.
There is generally a twenty day waiting period after the defendant has been given copies of the divorce papers before either party can request a pre-trial or trial. (This period is six months for no-fault divorces where you file alone.) If you do not know where your spouse lives or works, you must still give “notice” of the pending divorce, but since you cannot locate him/her, you will serve him/her by an alternate method such as service by publication in the newspaper and mailing notice to his/her last known address. There is no hard and fast rule as to how long it takes to complete the process and be granted a final divorce judgment.
If you have questions about filing for divorce in Massachusetts, contact Boston divorce lawyer Howard Lewis to schedule a consultation.