People often ask me if there is any way to prevent a divorce if their spouse files against them. The answer is no. The basis of divorce in Mass is irretrievable breakdown. If one party believes that the marriage is irretrievably broken and wants to get a divorce, it will happen. Once a divorce is filed in Massachusetts, the Court will set a Pre trial date for six months away because contested divorces in MA must take at least that long. The Pre-trial is the most important event in the divorce process. At the Pre trial conference , all parties must meet beforehand at what is called a 4 way meeting between the two parties and their lawyers. Both side then submit a Pre trial Memorandum to the Judge which outlines for the Judge all of the issues which the parties agree and disagree on. The Judge will read the memos and provide feedback on how he or she is likely to rule on those issues if the matter were to go to Trial.
Because divorce trials are conducted in front of the presiding Judge only and not in front of a jury, you have advanced notice on how he or she is likely to rule.
For that reason, many couples are able to come to an agreement either at or shortly after the Pre trial conference.