What Are My Divorce Options in Massachusetts?

If you are planning to file for divorce in the state of Massachusetts, you need to start by determining which type of divorce you will get. In this state, you can choose either a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. No-fault divorces are more common, and they are usually easier to get since it does not have to be proven that the other spouse is to blame for the end of the marriage. In a no-fault divorce, the stated reason for the divorce is an "irretrievable breakdown of marriage," or essentially irreconcilable differences. There are two options to choose from when you file for this type of divorce:

1A (No-Fault): This type of no-fault divorce occurs when the spouses file a joint divorce petition, in which they both agree that they there was an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that nothing can be done to salvage the marriage. As part of this process, the spouses must also submit a notarized separation agreement, or a document in which they agree on all the terms of the divorce. This is a much quicker way of getting divorced.

1B (No-Fault): This occurs when only one spouse files for no-fault divorce based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, such as when the other spouse does not agree that the marriage is beyond repair. In cases such as these, the spouse who filed for divorce will need to prove to the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken. There is a six-month waiting period for this type of divorce, meaning that the divorce cannot be granted for at least six months from the filing date.

In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must actually prove wrongful action by the other spouse. Spouses may choose this form of divorce for the purpose of gaining the upper hand in a child custody case or in some other aspect of the divorce, such as alimony. The fault-based grounds for divorce include the following:

  1. Adultery
  2. Impotency
  3. Utter desertion (for at least a year prior to the divorce complaint being filed)
  4. Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication (by alcohol or drugs)
  5. Cruel and abusive treatment
  6. Refusal or neglect to support one's spouse, when there is an ability to do so

If you are planning to file for divorce, it is important that you first consult with a legal professional. At my law firm, Flanagan & Associates, I can help you assess your situation and identify the divorce option that is most suitable for your particular circumstances. I am an experienced Quincy lawyer who provides each of my clients with high-quality, personalized legal representation. Contact Flanagan & Associates today so I can help you protect your best interests through each step of the divorce process!

Categories: Divorce