Legal Question in Family Law in Massachusetts

This info is from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries:

After one signs divorce papers before a judge in Massachusetts is there a waiting period or are you divorced immediately?

See MGL c. 208 21. Here's an explanation from: MCLE: Family Law Advocacy for Low & Moderate Income Litigants (2008) Page 147:

"If the judge finds that the facts support an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and approves the agreement, an order will be entered accordingly. Thirty days after the order is entered (usually the date of the hearing), a Judgment Divorce Nisi is issued. The Judgment Divorce Nisi becomes an absolute Judgment of Divorce after 90 days. G.L. c. 208, 1A. If you seek a divorce under this section, the divorce is not final until at least 120 days (roughly four months) have passed since the judge approved the separation agreement. "

Judgment Divorce Nisi is the temporary divorce decree. It contains the terms but is not yet final. It allows either party time to file an appeal before the parties are divorced. Once they are no longer married, the litigation is over and they can't appeal the divorce. The Decree absolute issues 90 days after decree nisi or later if an appeal is filed. The parties are finally and legally divorced when a decree absolute issues.

So if the first divorce court date for a couple in Massachusetts is August 11, 2010 can they go to Las Vegas and be legally married by August 13, 2010? or could they get married in New Jersey legally on August 12, 2010? My daughter is in this situation and I need to know the earliest date she could get married after a divorce in Massachusetts. Thank you.

Asked on 6/17/10, 9:47 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Alan Pransky Law Office of Alan J. Pransky
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In Massachusetts, a divorce becomes final 90 days after entry of decree nisi. When parties appear before a Massachusetts Judge the decree nisi may enter that day or some later date. However, your daughter is still married for at least 90 days after she appeared before a Massachusetts Judge. If one party appeals, then the decree absolute won't enter until the appeal is over. You need to look at the date of your daughter's decree nisi and add 91 days and make sure neither party appealed. If the court date in Massachusetts is August 11, 2010, they will not be divorced before November 9, 2010.

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6/18/10, 6:35 am
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Your daughter has to wait 90 days before getting married again.

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6/18/10, 9:19 am

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