Citing Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts

Going through divorce proceedings can often be a very complex and emotionally exhausting process for all involved. In the state of Massachusetts, spouses are required to meet certain requirements before the may begin with the proceedings. One of the first requirements is for them to cite grounds for their divorce. While many people believe divorces only occur as a result of one spouse’s “fault,” this is not always the case. In the state of Massachusetts, spouses may cite either fault or no-fault grounds for their divorce.

Fault Grounds

Spouses who are choosing to divorce can cite fault grounds in order to begin the proceedings. When a spouse cites fault grounds in a divorce case, it means that one party involved is the reason for the end of the marriage. In the state of Massachusetts, there are 7 grounds to choose from when citing fault grounds. This can include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Non-support
  • Impotence
  • Imprisonment of 5 or more years
  • Gross habits of intoxication
  • Cruel and abusive treatment

Many spouses are unsure about whether they should cite fault grounds in a divorce. This is due to the possibility of divorce through litigation as well as leading to further problems with the other spouse. When one individual cites fault grounds, the other spouse is able to answer the accusation, possibly leading to further legal issues. It is a common misconception that when a spouse cites fault grounds, it may affect the outcome of the divorce. Despite this notion, fault grounds typically do not have an impact on the outcome of a spouse’s marital issues in a divorce. However, there are some exceptions, including cruel and abusive treatment.

No-Fault Grounds

When spouses cite no-fault grounds in a divorce, it means neither spouse is holding the other responsible for the end of their marriage. When this happens, the divorce proceedings may begin and the spouses can begin to settle the important issues at hand. No-fault grounds in a divorce can be broken down into two different categories. This is known as an “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” The two types of irretrievable breakdowns are as follows:

  • 1A Divorce: This type of divorce is an uncontested divorce. This is when both parties agree their marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired. A 1A Divorce is settled through a written agreement that resolves all marital issues. This includes child custody, child support, parenting time, alimony, and the division of assets.
  • 1B Divorce: This type of divorce is a contested divorce. This is when the marriable irretrievably broken down but the two spouses cannot agree to the terms of their marital issues. In the event of this, the spouses may be led to divorce through litigation. If they can eventually come to agree on the terms, they may change their complaint from “1B” to “1A.”

Contact our Firm

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce and wishes to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. today.

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.