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What You Should Know About Divorces in Massachusetts

Divorces in Massachusetts are filed under either FAULT or NO FAULT grounds. With either fault or no fault grounds, the parties must address child support, child custody, property division, alimony, and health insurance, among other issues.  Also, whether the divorce is filed under fault or no fault grounds has little impact on how the issues are ultimately resolved.  Therefore, most filings are now under no fault grounds.

No Fault Divorces: in this type, the parties agree that the marriage is “beyond repair,“ but at the same time neither party technically blames the other. The legal term used for this type of divorce is an “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage,” which is also broken down into two different types: (a) uncontested, and (b) contested.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage:-

(a) Uncontested: The parties file a Joint Petition for Divorce.  Parties use this filing when they have all issues resolved and are ready to put their divorce through.

(b) Contested: In this type, one party files a Complaint for Divorce, and the other party is served with a complaint and a summons.  This is the standard way to start a divorce because it puts the case on the court calendar, which moves the case along toward resolution.  Also, at the beginning of the divorce proceeding, rarely do both parties agree on all of the issues and all of the details of the arrangement going forward.  Divorces that begin contested essentially become uncontested when the parties agree on all the issues and are ready to resolve the matter.

Fault Grounds for Divorce

Following are the fault grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts:-

  • Cruel Treatment: This one is the most common, and may be used if a spouse caused the other arm.  This is typcally used when there is a history of domestic violence.
  • Desertion: One spouse left the home voluntarily and has no intention of returning, and has not lived with the other spouse for at least one year prior to the filing of the complaint for divorce.
  • Sentence of Confinement: For this, there should be proof that either of the spouses had remained in confinement in a penal institution for five years or more.
  • The habit of Intoxication: One of the spouses has voluntarily and extensively used drugs and alcohol, making it a pattern or habit.
  • Refusal to Provide Support and Maintenance: If one spouse is able to but refuses to provide support or maintenance to the other.
  • Adultery: In order to file for divorce on this basis it must be proven that either of the spouses is having extra marital affair.
  • Impotency: Spouse is incapable of having intercourse.  This ground is essentially outdated and rarely used.