The divorce process involves various steps that finally culminate in a divorce decree. In Massachusetts, the divorce decree is known as the Judgment of Divorce Nisi. If you are contemplating or going through a divorce in the state, you should have a clear understanding of the MA divorce process.
It is best to seek legal counsel from experienced divorce lawyer Jay Davis, who will help you get through this process in the most efficient manner possible. Call Davis Law Group at 617-221-3548 to schedule a free consultation.
Nisi Period in an MA Divorce
Before your divorce in Massachusetts becomes final (or “absolute”), the law requires you to wait for a period ranging from 90 days to 120 days, which is known as the “Nisi Period.” This legal requirement must be fulfilled even when you and your former spouse have appeared at a family court hearing and entered into a binding Separation Agreement.
Once the Nisi period is over, you are free to re-marry or file your tax returns as an unmarried person. Whether you have to undergo a 90-day or 120-day Nisi period will depend on the type of divorce you have filed.
120-Day Nisi Period – Joint Petition for Divorce
If you and your ex-spouse have filed a Joint Petition for Divorce, then the family court in Massachusetts will schedule a hearing at the time the judge reviews your pleadings, separation agreement, and financial statements of both sides. Following the approval of the agreement, a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will be issued after 30 days, and Judgment Absolute will be entered 90 days after that.
In effect, you and the other party (the Joint Petitioners) will have to wait for a total of 120 days from the date of their divorce hearing to formally have their marital status changed from “married” to “divorced.” Thereafter, you are free to remarry.
90-Day Nisi Period – Complaint for Divorce
The rule is slightly different when either you alone or you and your ex-spouse file a contested Complaint for Divorce. In the first place, if the mandatory 6-month period after the filing of the Complaint has not elapsed, you and the other party only have two options: (a) wait for the 6-month period to end; or (b) amend your complaint to a Joint Petition (which will move you to a waiting period of 120 days).
However, if six months from the filing date have elapsed, you and your ex-spouse could speed up the process. After your separation agreement is approved by the judge, the Judgment of Divorce Nisi in this case will enter immediately (unlike a Joint Petition, where you have to wait for 30 days). The Judgment of Divorce Absolute will then enter after a 90-day period.
In other words, provided six months have elapsed since your first filing, you and the other party could be free to remarry in 90 days.
To understand this process in a better way, you should speak to the skilled and compassionate divorce attorney Jay Davis in Massachusetts. Jay has been helping individuals achieve their goals in a divorce in as smooth and hassle-free a manner as possible. Call our office at 617-221-3548 to schedule a free consultation today.
Implications of the Nisi Period
Many people get confused about the Nisi Period regarding their marital status, and wonder whether they are married or divorced during that period. Some may also make mistakes with their tax filing and estate planning because of this confusion.
It is important to understand that all the substantive orders that are a part of the Separation Agreement (including child custody, property division, child support, and spousal support) will become enforceable and effective as soon as the Judgment of Divorce Nisi is entered. For example, if you presume that you don’t have to pay spousal support or child support simply because your divorce has not yet become “absolute,” it would be incorrect, and you may be served with contempt of court.
The “Nisi Period” only affects one critical element: your marital status. Another thing worth noting is that you may be able to continue with your health coverage (if you were covered by your former spouse’s insurance plan) during this waiting period of 90 days.
Choose Davis Law Group for Strong Legal Representation
A divorce process is never going to be pleasant or easy for you. But when you have the dedicated legal team led by divorce lawyer Jay Davis on your side, you can emerge from this process with the best outcomes that you may have hoped for. We are here to help you navigate your way through this challenging phase. Call Davis Law Group at 617-221-3548 to schedule a free consultation.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
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