Divorce – Irretrievable Breakdown, Cruel and Abusive Treatment, Desertion, etc.

This is what you would file if any of the above matters might be the “grounds” on which you will file. You might disagree on different “issues”. (For instance, you might have marital property and don’t agree on how to distribute it, or you might have children and the issues of child support, custody and visitation are something neither of you can agree upon, although you both agree that a divorce is what you want. Perhaps one party does not want the divorce, however the other party believes it is necessary.) Whatever the reason that you do not agree, you might want to consider filing a divorce action based on causes established by statute.

All forms that are linked below can be filled out by the applicant on-line. However, the applicant still needs to print out the form, sign it and then submit it to Plymouth County Probate and Family Court either by mail or in person.

Here you will find:

What to file     Where to File     What happens after you file

What to file:

  • Filing fee of $220.00. (Payable to “Plymouth Probate Court”. Bank check or money order is required. No personal checks are accepted.)
  • Complaint for Divorce (Complaint for Divorce under G.L. c. 208, Section 1B )
  • Certified Copy of your Marriage Certificate – You will need to get this from the town or city that you were married in.
  • Domestic Relations Summons – This will be provided to you AFTER you file your divorce. The Court will send you this form.
  • Affidavit Disclosing Care or Custody of a child, if there are any minor children of the marriage, you MUST file this form.
  • A Financial Statement must be completed. If your annual income is less than $75,000, a pink short form Financial Statement is required. (Print on pink paper) If your annual income is more than $75,000, a pink Long form Financial Statement is required. (Print on purple paper)
  • R408 Click here for information
  • Click here for “no-fault” 1B forms
  • Click here for “fault” 1B forms

Where to file:

All papers above should be filed:

By mail to:

Plymouth County Probate and Family Court

ATTN: Domestic Relations Department

52 Obery Street, Suite 1130

Plymouth, MA 02360

In person at:

Plymouth County Probate and Family Court

52 Obery Street

Plymouth, MA 02360

or Plymouth County Probate and Family Court

215 Main Street

Brockton, MA 02301

What to Expect after you file:

After you file the above divorce papers with the Court, they must be processed. Processing your Complaint and other papers means that your case needs to be indexed, assigned a docket number, file stamped, docketed into the official court docket, and money needs to be documented and forwarded into the State’s Account.

The Court then issues a Summons to you. Once you receive this summons, you MUST take it or mail it, with a copy of the Complaint, to the Sheriff’s Department of the County in which the Defendant lives. A Constable who is authorized to serve civil process in a designated city or town may also be utilized. The Sheriff or Constable will “make service”. This means that the Sheriff or Constable will bring a copy of the Complaint, Summons and any other papers to the Defendant. The Sheriff’s Department or Constable will then send you the Original Summons with the back part of the summons filled out, stating that either service was made or that the Sheriff or Constable was unable to make service. This is called a “return of service”. This original Summons will need to be filed with the Court. This will prove to the Court that service has been made.

Once you file the original summons, including the “return of service”, with the court, you will be able to file for a court hearing:

  • By a motion, in order to receive a temporary order on matters of support, custody, visitation, or other matters which the court might deem just, (Click here for Motion)


  • The Court will automatically assign the case for a Case Management Conference, at which time a Pre-Trial Conference will be scheduled, if necessary. NOTE: Although the Court automatically assigns a Case Management Conference, either party may file and schedule a motion for a Judge’s regular motion session before the scheduled Case Management Conference takes place. In such event, the Judge may cancel the scheduled Case Management Conference and proceed to schedule a Pre-Trial Conference.
  • Certain matters may be directly scheduled by the Court for a Pre-trial Conference.
  • If you are filing for a Divorce on the grounds of “Irretrievable Breakdown”, six months from the filing date must pass before you can get a Pre-Trial Conference date from the Court.
  • If the matter is not resolved at the Pre-trial conference, then it will be assigned a trial date.


A helpful guide for parents living apart has been prepared by The Massachusetts Association of Family and Conciliation Courts with the support of the Honorable Sean M. Dunphy, Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court. (Click here)

A child custody disclosure statement must be filed or the complaint for divorce will not be accepted for filing. Both parents will also be required to participate in a Parent Education Program approved by the Administrative Office of the Probate and Family Court. Please check out the information for the Parent Education Program within our website. (Click for quick link)

This program is MANDATORY in all divorce cases involving minor children (a minor child is a child under the age of 18 years old at the time of filing). A yellow Certificate of Attendance at an approved Parent Education Program must be filed before the case can be assigned for Pre-Trial Conference.

In any hearing or trial to determine child support, the parties must prepare and present to the Judge, at the hearing or trial, a Child Support guidelines Worksheet (Print on light blue paper).

Click the following quick links for the worksheet and other information regarding child support.

Child support guidelines Information


After the Judge issues an order for a Judgment of Divorce Nisi, there is a statutory ninety day waiting period before the divorce becomes final. A Certificate of Divorce Absolute can be obtained from the Court on the day after the divorce becomes final for a fee of $20.00. The Certificate of Divorce Absolute can be requested by filling out the “Request for Copies” form (Click for form) and forwarding it to the Court with your bank check or money order of $20.00.