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Third Party Joinder Motions in Divorce Cases – Massachusetts


The Massachusetts Domestic Relations Rules provide for the allowance of the joinder of third parties into a divorce case where complete relief cannot be accorded to the husband and/or wife.

Further, a third party may be joined when that person claims an interest relating to the subject matter of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in that person’s absence may either impair or impede that person’s ability to protect their own interests, or leave any of the persons, already parties, subject to substantial risk of incurring multiple or inconsistent obligations by reason of the third party’s claimed interest.

The common situations where joinder motions are filed occurs when a person or entity other than the parties to the divorce action claims an interest in or holds title to real property which one or both of the spouses claims is part of the marital estate.  The law specifically allows assignment of property: “The court may assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other.”  (M.G.L.A. c. 208, § 34).  Therefore, the issue of whether a third party has an ownership interest in any property owned by either spouse would justify the joinder of that person or entity.

The joinder of a third party described above is a different procedure than the issue of naming the person that may have had an adulterous affair with one spouse as a co-defendant in the lawsuit.

For more information concerning joinder of third parties into divorce or separate support cases, call or email our office today.  We have free parking and offer a private, free consultation.

Our firm serves Boston as well as all courts in Bristol County, including the New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton courthouses.  We also serve all courts in Plymouth County including the Family and Probate Courthouses in Plymouth and Brockton.

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