Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts

Divorce is a complicated process that requires a lot of time and patience. When a couple is divorcing, they wish to end their marriage and move on with their lives in the best way possible. In Massachusetts, there are a few different things that must be done in order for a couple to file for a divorce. An important requirement in filing for divorce is the need to cite grounds. Some marriages may end for a specific reason, while other marriages may just fall apart on their own. A couple may receive a divorce under either circumstance. When filing for divorce, an experienced attorney in Mansfield can help guide your case.

Fault Grounds

Sometimes, a spouse may wish to end their marriage for a definitive reason. This can be something that happens during the marriage that causes a spouse to not want to continue the relationship. When one spouse is responsible for ending a marriage, the other spouse is able to cite “fault grounds” to begin the process of divorce. In Massachusetts, an individual has 7 grounds to choose from when they cite fault grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Habits of intoxication
  • Non-support
  • Desertion
  • Abusive treatment
  • Impotence
  • A prison sentence of 5 years or more

Sometimes, spouses choose not to fault cite grounds for a few reasons. Citing fault grounds can sometimes require both spouses to spend more time and money than they would if they cited differently. In some cases, if a spouse files cite grounds for cases such as abuse or adultery, the other spouse may retaliate. This may lead to other accusations made during the process that drag out a case unnecessarily. In most cases of fault grounds, there is no major impact on the outcome of the divorce.

No-Fault Grounds

When a spouse cites no-fault grounds, there is no singular reason for the end of the marriage. Citing no-fault grounds allows the couple to begin the process of divorce and continue to separate their lives. When this happens, it is known as an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” This is broken into two main types of divorces:

  • 1A Divorce: This type of divorce is also known as an uncontested divorce. It is when both parties agree that the marriage cannot be repaired and they have come to an agreement on all marital issues. This may include matters such as child support, child custody, alimony, parenting time, and the division of assets.
  • 1B Divorce: This type of divorce is also known as a contested divorce. It is when one spouse cites that the marriage cannot be repaired. In addition to this, the couple has not come to an agreement on marital issues. When this happens, they may have to go to court in order to resolve their differences.

Contact our Firm

If you are filing for divorce and wish to speak to a legal representative about your case, 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.