When spouses file for divorce, they have the option in Massachusetts to claim a fault ground or to refrain from claiming a fault ground. When they include a fault ground in their divorce papers, it may contest their divorce. These fault grounds can include adultery, desertion, impotence, non-support, cruel and abusive treatment, gross and confirmed habits of intoxications or imprisonment of five or more years. By claiming a fault ground, it can begin legal action for your divorce right away. You may not be able to use divorce mediation as a means to solve marital issues. By contesting your divorce with a claimed fault ground, you may have to enter into litigation to decide on marital issues. When you and your spouse go to court for a divorce, you do not have control over the decisions that are being made. A judge will preside over your case and make decisions for you. For these cases, a judge will not usually involve the fault ground to make decisions for the case. For example, if your spouse claimed you were involved in adultery on your divorce papers, this should not affect your case. However, if abuse is stated, this can have an effect for matters involving the children. A judge will want to make sure the children are not in harm’s way. They may have to look into the situation further to determine if the children would be safe with the so-called abusive spouse.
How does a no-fault ground divorce proceed?
Since Massachusetts allows spouses to refrain from citing a fault ground, this can be a useful way to keep the divorce civil. Neither party is blamed for the breakdown of the marriage based on the fault grounds that could be claimed. No-fault ground divorces are broken down into two categories, including 1A divorce and 1B divorce. A 1A divorce is an uncontested divorce due to the fact that both parties have agreed that the marriage has broken down. They sign a written agreement attesting to this fact and will work through resolving their marital issues together. For a 1B divorce, it can be a contested divorce. These divorces allow one spouse to claim that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and the couple may not be able to agree on the terms of the marital issues. If they are unable to solve their marital issues in mediation, they may have to enter into court to have decisions made for them.
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.