A divorce is a judgment of a court ending a marriage. In Massachusetts, a person who wants a divorce must file legal documents in the Probate and Family Court and give reasons (called "grounds") for the divorce. When the Probate and Family Court considers a divorce case, it also decides custody, parenting time and visitation, child support if there are children. The court can also decide financial issues such as whether one spouse will pay support to the other (called "alimony") and how the parties will divide their property. When spouses agree on how these issues should be decided, they can file a written agreement with the court and ask the judge to approve it.
This section of Children and Families has information about the process for getting a divorce, grounds for divorce, alternatives to divorce, how the court handles custody, parenting time, visitation, child support, alimony, division of marital property, and other issues that are involved in divorce cases.