When a person files for a divorce in Massachusetts—either a no fault or a fault-based divorce—he or she must make the divorce known to the individual from whom separation is sought. If only one spouse is filing, the filing spouse must inform his or her spouse that s/he has filed for divorce by serving his/her spouse with a copy of the complaint and summons. Usually, these papers can be served by in person, by a process server, or by the local sheriff.
While some divorce actions are settled quickly when divorcing parties are in agreement about the divorce and related issues (i.e., property division, child support, etc.), many divorces can take multiple months to settle. For a financially dependent spouse, these months can equal economic devastation without the support of the financially independent spouse. As such, a judge may issue an order for temporary spousal support. Here is what you need to know: