The Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts is proposing a change to the procedure for filing joint Complaints for Modifications in Massachusetts. The new procedure would allow parties to agree to modify certain terms of their divorce judgments, separation agreements, or parenting plans without ever having to go to court. For many people who have already been through the court process this proposed rule change will be a dream come true.
The Probate and Family Courts in Massachusetts are routinely overburdened and understaffed and because of the volume it can take a while even get a hearing date, and once you get to court it can take hours before you can be heard by the judge. These changes will save time and money for litigants as well as the court system.
If the proposed rule passes parties would be able to file a joint petition for modification signed by both parties, the new agreement, a financial statements, and a proposed order. The Judge would then review the documents and decide if a hearing was necessary. If a hearing is not necessary the new agreement will be accepted by the court as a modification of your old agreement or judgment and would enter as a new court order.
For details on the proposed changes to Supplemental Rule 412 please see the press release from the Chief Justice Paula M. Carey notice-invinting-comment-rule-412