What to Know About Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

There are two types of divorces in Massachusetts: contested and uncontested divorce. Each of these types is dependant on whether or not the two parties involved can reach agreements on their marital issues. If you are going through a divorce, it is in your best interest to reach out to one of our experienced Massachusetts divorce attorneys today to discuss your options.

What is a contested divorce?

When spouses cannot come to an agreement on their marital issues, they are in a contested divorce. Neither spouse will sign an agreement on the terms of their separation, leaving many issues unresolved. If this happens, a judge will have to assess each issue and come to an agreement for the couple. The most commonly contested issues in a divorce include topics like child support, child custody, division of assets, and alimony.

When it comes to a contested divorce, a spouse is able to cite “fault” or “no-fault” grounds. When no-fault grounds are cited, neither spouse is placing the blame for the end of the marriage on the other. In this situation, the couple may begin the divorce proceedings. On the other hand, when a spouse does cite fault grounds, they will hold their spouse accountable for something they did and declare it to be the reason for their divorce. Examples of fault grounds include the following:

  • Desertion
  • Adultery
  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Cruelty
  • Impotency
  • Incarceration for over 5 years
  • Habitual intoxication or drug addiction
  • Fraudulent marriage

What is an uncontested divorce?

In contrast, an uncontested divorce means that all marital issues between both parties, like alimony, child custody, child support, child visitation, division of assets, and alimony have been resolved. This type of divorce typically happens when both spouses mutually believe that their marriages cannot be fixed and agree to the settlements of their divorce. An uncontested divorce is also commonly known as an “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” There are two types of irretrievable breakdowns:

  • 1A Divorce: When both spouses agree on their marital issues.
  • 1B Divorce: When marital issues are left unresolved.

Uncontested divorces allow both parties to choose the method in which they want to divorce. For example, they may choose mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce instead of litigation. These processes are voluntary, but typically, these options are more efficient both with time and finances for both parties and their families.

Contact our experienced Bristol County firm

For over 30 years, The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. has provided quality legal support and representation for clients in Bristol County and all of Massachusetts. Our firm’s experience eases the stress of clients while providing the legal services they deserve. If you need help through a contested divorce, contact The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. for a consultation today.