Much of this is determined by the Court and not the parties and lawyers on a particular case. The complexity and nature of the issues in a case also contributes to the length of time a case may take from start to finish. The Probate Court has recently imposed time standards, seeking to standardize divorce proceedings to a fourteen (14) month time frame, if contested from beginning to end. While these guidelines are what the court strives for, the court cannot always meet its time guidelines, and a fully contested case may take longer. It is also very common for the process to be completed in much less time than the court’s guidelines, and the Attorneys at Schwartz and Plante work hard to not only get the best possible results for our clients, but also to do it in as speedy a time frame as possible.
How is the Divorce Process Started?
There are two ways to get divorced in Massachusetts: Joint Petition or Complaint for Divorce.
A Joint Petition is the process by which the parties file for divorce, already with a complete, written, executed agreement on all issues. Thereafter, they appear before the court for the court’s review and approval of the agreement. The Attorneys of Schwartz & Plante have completed thousands of Joint Petitions for divorce in their respective careers, and pride themselves on their ability to do so expertly, and quickly.
A complaint for divorce is the process by which parties start a divorce action when they don’t have a complete, written, executed agreement at the outset. Generally, one spouse files a Complaint for Divorce which is then served on the other party who files the appropriate responsive pleadings.
Most other Probate Court matters can also start either by Joint Petition or Complaint – depending on the particular issues and whether an agreement is reached at the outset.