Can I claim a fault ground in a divorce in Massachusetts?

The state of Massachusetts is a no-fault ground state. This means that when spouses are filing for divorce they do not have to include a fault ground in their paperwork. By avoiding to claim a fault ground, this can lead the spouses to enter into an uncontested divorce. These divorces may be easier to handle. Uncontested divorces allow couples to solve their marital issues in divorce mediation. This process can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It can prove to be more private than entering into litigation and less stressful. Litigation can be time-consuming and cost more money due to attorney fees that keep piling up.

Although Massachusetts does allow individuals to avoid claiming a fault ground, individuals still have the option to do so. When spouses file for divorce, they are able to cite a variety of grounds for divorce that place fault on one of the spouses. These grounds include adultery, desertion, non-support, impotence, imprisonment of five or more years, cruel and abusive treatment, and gross and confirmed habits of intoxication.

Do judges consider fault grounds in court?

If you claim a fault ground and enter into a contested divorce, you may have to enter into litigation. During court, a judge will make decisions for the couple regarding all marital issues. This may be easier for the couple if they are unable to cooperate with one another in divorce mediation. When judges make their decisions in court, they usually do not take the fault ground into consideration. Fault grounds do not cloud their judgment. Instead, they consider all other aspects of the spouses’ lives to make decisions regarding alimony and the division of assets. This can include their financial lives. When children are involved, they will consider each parent’s role and the overall well-being of the child. If the fault ground stated in divorce papers includes cruel or abusive treatment, the judge may consider this when making decisions for child custody arrangements. They do not want to expose the children to any more harm. They are supposed to make decisions that benefit the child and have a positive impact on their life. Abusive behavior cannot be tolerated.

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.