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Divorce FAQs

Our Seekonk Divorce Lawyer Answers Your Questions

The Ostendorf Law Group, P.C. represents clients throughout Eastern Massachusetts in divorce, child custody disputes, and other family law situations. We hear many questions from our clients and have compiled the answers to those we are asked most frequently. If you have a question that is not answered here, we encourage you to contact our law firm.

We are happy to answer your questions. Call (508) 434-4043 for a free consultation.

  • Should I take any steps prior to filing for divorce?

    The first step is to contact an attorney, so we can begin to develop an effective strategy. Next, you should focus on your children and what is best for them. Gather any necessary documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, retirement account statements, and any other financial documents. Take pictures or video of any property in the home and any signs of your spouse’s temper or any other issues pertaining to your situation.

  • When should I move out?

    Moving out before the divorce is finalized can send a message that you don’t care about your home or having your children live with you. It is important to consult with a divorce lawyer before moving out of your home. At least get through the temporary orders hearing before moving out to avoid damaging your chances of keeping your home or gaining custody of your children.

  • Should I file contested or uncontested?

    Each divorce is unique and the best method is what works for a given situation. Contested divorce takes longer, but may be necessary when spouses cannot agree on property division, child custody, and other issues. The best way to determine the right type of divorce in your situation is to contact our attorneys.

  • What are the requirements for filing for divorce in Massachusetts?

    The filing requirements vary for contested and uncontested divorces.

    For uncontested divorces, you will need:

    • Financial statements
    • A notarized separation agreement
    • An Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown
    • Certified copy of your marriage certificate
    • A Joint Petition for Divorce, Form CJD 101A
    • Certificate of Absolute Divorce, Form R-408
    • Parent Education Certificate, Custody Form OCAJ-1, and Child Support CJD304, if you have children

    If the divorce is contested, you will still need your financial statements and certified copy of your civil marriage certificate. In addition, you will need a Complaint for Divorce, Form CJD101 and Certificate of Absolute Divorce Form R-406. If you have children, the additional documents will be needed.

  • Does it matter who files first?

    We recommend that our clients file first. This offers advantages, such as allowing you and your divorce attorney to have more control over the agenda and order in which the court considers the issues. You also have the opportunity to request temporary orders at the beginning of the process. Additionally, it allows us to surprise the other side and sends a message that we are serious.

  • How long does the divorce process usually take?

    This can vary widely. Uncontested or amicable divorces that can be settled out of court are often resolved in a few months. However, contested divorces can take much longer—sometimes years—to be finalized.

  • What is the difference between civilian and military divorces?

    Members of the military and their spouses face some unique challenges in the divorce process. These include serving divorce papers or being served while on active duty, making custody decisions when one parent is overseas, and military pension questions. It is important to hire an attorney with specific knowledge and experience representing clients in military divorces.

  • What rights to men have during a divorce?

    Men and women have equal rights in the divorce process. It is important to have a plan to get what you want. We consider the facts of each case and create a plan and develop a strategy based on what you are hoping to achieve.

  • What rights do I have as a father?

    Fathers have the same rights as mothers. There is no longer a presumption that a mother is the primary parent. However, you need to prove your case, and the judge will decide issues based on the evidence produced by each side. We can help you use some fundamental strategies that have worked for other fathers.

  • What can I do to protect my children?

    The best thing you can do for your children is to put their needs first and avoid putting them in the middle. Lengthy, contentious custody battles put children in the middle of a fight. You can protect your children by explaining the essentials of the divorce without providing too much detail, as well as settling matters outside of court with an uncontested divorce, when possible. It is important to avoid talking negatively about your spouse or attempting to get the children on your side.

  • At what age does child support end?

    Generally, child support ends when the child turns 18. However, there are some situations when the court offers child support beyond the child’s 18th birthday. For example, support may continue until the age of 23 for children in college and up to 21 when the child is dependent on that parent.

  • What can I do about my spouse hiding money?

    When you suspect your spouse is hiding money, you must provide evidence. We work with forensic accountants, computer investigators, and other experts to gather the information we need.

  • How does property division work in Massachusetts?

    Massachusetts uses the standard of equitable distribution when dividing marital property. This doesn’t mean each spouse will receive an equal share. The judge will determine what is equitable based on specific factors. These may include the length of the marriage, employability of each spouse, ages of each spouse, and conduct during the marriage.

  • How is alimony decided?

    Massachusetts has determined that the spouses should be on equal footing and able to maintain the quality of life they enjoyed during the marriage. The general guideline is that the higher-earning spouse pays about 30 to 35 percent of the difference in the spouse’s incomes. The length of time alimony must be paid depends on the length of the marriage.

Client Testimonials

  • “James was quickly attuned to what service I needed. ”


  • “Mr. Ostendorf saved this veterans life!”


  • “He is very eager to win to the greatest benefit of his/her client. He leaves no stone unturned.”