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Responding to divorce petition a crucial step in marital breakup

A spouse has decided to finally call it quits in his or her marriage. However, deciding to get a divorce is only half the battle. Here is a glimpse at what steps must be taken to kick-start the divorce process in Massachusetts.

First, a spouse who is interested in getting divorced must file a divorce petition with the family law court. This petition is then served, or delivered, to the other party. Next, the recipient of the petition has a certain amount of time -- typically around three weeks -- to respond to the divorce petition.

The response to a divorce petition essentially acknowledges that the petition was received. In responses, spouses must also be prepared to state their positions on the proposals and statements that the other parties included in the petition. These proposals may be in regard to issues such as spousal support, child custody and property division. If no response is given, the court will generally assume that the recipient of the petition agrees with everything in the petition.

The divorce process can quickly become complicated and messy from an emotional, financial and legal standpoint. For this reason, an attorney's guidance during the process of responding to a divorce petition may be invaluable. A family law attorney in Massachusetts can help a spouse to understand his or her obligations and rights, and answer the petition within the allotted time frame. The attorney's ultimate goal is to make sure that the client's best interests are protected from the start when going through divorce is inevitable.

Source:, "Answering the Divorce/Dissolution Petition", Accessed on May 2, 2018

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