Divorce Law in Massachusettes: No-Fault Divorce and What it Means

Divorce is an extremely personal and oftentimes emotionally taxing event, despite it being a common occurrence in our society. It is not easy to break off a marriage, and on top of the emotional stress that comes with divorce, people naturally have many legal questions as well.

What constitutes a divorce in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has implemented what is known as no-fault divorces, which means that if you wish to get a divorce, you do not have to cite any “fault grounds.” This simply means that you do not have to state a specific reason for wanting a divorce, which generally allows for a much smoother process. By citing “fault grounds,” you allow your spouse a chance to respond to your accusations, which often contributes to a much longer and expensive process for both parties.

What are the fault grounds you can cite when getting a divorce?

Though Massachusetts is a no-fault divorce state, if you wish to cite fault grounds, below you will find a list of the seven fault grounds you can choose from. However, it is important to keep in mind that citing fault grounds will usually not have much of an impact on your case, though there are a few exceptions, such as cruel and abusive treatment.

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Non-support
  • Impotence
  • Imprisonment for 5 or more years

What are the different types of no-fault divorces?

No-fault grounds are divided into two categories, which include 1A divorce and 1B divorce. 1A divorce essentially means that you are filing for an uncontested divorce. In order to file for a 1A divorce, you and your spouse must both agree on the terms of your divorce. These terms include:

  • Child support
  • Parenting time
  • Alimony
  • Custody time
  • Division of marital assets

If you cannot come to such agreements, then you would generally file for a 1B divorce, which means it is a contested divorce. Additionally, you would file for a 1B divorce if one party cites that the marriage is irretrievably broken down, though the other party does not agree. It should also be noted that if at some point during the process both parties are able to come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce, then they may be able to change their divorce filing from a 1B to a 1A divorce. Contact the legal team at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today.

Contact a Massachusetts attorney

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.