What are the Grounds for Divorce in the State of Massachusetts?

If you are ready to file for divorce, you are most likely navigating through an emotionally complex point in your life. This is to be expected. Furthermore, if your spouse wronged you in some way, nobody would blame you for wanting to mention it in court. It hurts when somebody wrongs you, especially if you would never do anything to hurt them. In certain cases, you may cite “fault grounds” for your divorce. There are several valid grounds for divorce, and if you believe you were harshly wronged, you may wish to cite them. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What are the fault grounds I may cite?

If your spouse is guilty of any of the following, you will most likely have valid grounds for divorce. They are as follows:

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

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you must contact law enforcement as soon as possible. Nobody deserves to be scared in their own home. However, while domestic violence and any other form of heinous behavior are unacceptable, people seeking a divorce are generally advised to stay away from citing fault grounds. By citing fault grounds, you risk giving your former spouse a chance to respond to your allegations, which will usually open up the litigation process. From here, you may find yourself entering into a mentally exhausting and financially draining process. What’s more, citing fault grounds rarely has any impact on the outcome of your divorce. So again, while you must retain your safety and contact the authorities if you are in danger, it may not be the best route to take when getting a divorce. Fortunately, you may cite no-fault grounds in the state of Massachusetts.

What are no-fault grounds?

Essentially, by getting a no-fault divorce, you can avoid the potential pitfalls of citing fault grounds. There are two different types of no-fault ground divorces, both based on the premise of “an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.”

  • 1A Divorce: This is an uncontested divorce, meaning both parties agree that the marriage has broken down. Through a written agreement, the couple has resolved marital issues such as child support, parenting time, alimony, child custody, and the division of marital assets.
  • 1B Divorce: This is a contested divorce, meaning one spouse cites that the marriage is irretrievably broken down and the other spouse does not agree. If they cannot reach an agreement, they may have to enter the litigation process. However, if a couple can reach an agreement before the litigation process begins, they may change their divorce complaint from a “1B” to a “1A.”

Contact our Massachusetts firm

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.