Divorce Options in Massachusetts

When a couple seeks a divorce, they are looking to end their marriage. In most cases, this is a complex task. When a couple splits, they have to decide how to proceed forward with separating their lives. Depending on the couple and the situation they are in, they may wish to pursue a different divorce option than another couple. In the state of Massachusetts, there are different alternatives to a divorce that a couple has when looking to end a marriage.


One of the options a couple may have while pursuing a divorce may be a contested divorce. A contested divorce is when none neither couple in the relationship has signed an agreement, leaving issues that are left unsettled. When this happens, things such as child custody, child support, parenting, properties, and alimony may be taken care of by a judge.

In a contested divorce, an individual can cite “fault” or “no-fault” grounds in the divorce. Fault grounds may include situations such as adultery, desertion, habits of intoxication, abuse, non-support, or a prison sentence of 5+ years. When “no-fault” grounds are cited, the process of divorce may begin. This is referred to as a “1B” divorce, as the grounds are uncontested but the couple could not meet an agreement on marital issues.


Uncontested divorces are in places for divorcing couples who agree to the terms and conditions of their divorce. In the state of Massachusetts, couples seeking a divorce usually choose no-fault grounds. This is done when one or both individuals in the couple decide the marriage is beyond repair, and wish to end it quietly. It is known as “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” This holds neither party responsible for any fault. There are two different kinds of irretrievable breakdown divorces. A “1A” divorce is when both parties come to an agreement on all marital issues. A “1B” divorce is when the issues are not resolved.


Divorce through litigation can sometimes be very emotionally and financially taxing. Because of this, the use of mediation as a divorce option is growing more popular. Mediation is possible in some situations more than others, as some couples have difficulty coming together to discuss their options. With a neutral third party, the couple may discuss their case. This may include dividing their assets, alimony, as well as the care and support of any children. When all is resolved, the couple will sign a document that the mediator can present to the court. If the court agrees to the terms, they will be granted a Judgement of Divorce.


The option of collaborative divorce offers a method of resolving marital issues without going to court. The process consists of a series of four-way meetings. These meetings focus on having the couple come to an agreement on divorce proceedings. Through civil negotiations guided by attorneys, both parties work to come to a conclusion on the issues related to their circumstances.

Contact our Firm

If you or someone you know is considering a divorce and wish to seek legal counsel to guide them, 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.