What is a no-fault divorce?

Divorces are the result of a breakdown of a marriage. If couples are considering divorce, it is likely due to a variety of reasons. Whether the couple has been having problems for a while or has faced an especially difficult dilemma that they cannot bounce back from, there is a reason they are feeling the need to seek a divorce. However, they have the option to file for a divorce without citing fault. This is referred to as a no-fault divorce.

If individuals claim no-fault grounds when filing for divorce, there are two types of divorces that are associated with this. 1A divorce is an uncontested divorce with no claimed fault grounds. For this type, both spouses agree that the marriage has broken down in the form of a written agreement where they resolve marital issues. These issues can include child support, parenting time, alimony, child custody and the division of assets.

1B divorce is a contested divorce. This process involves one spouse citing that the marriage is irretrievably broken down and that the couple cannot agree on terms involving marital issues. If couples are not able to decide on these important issues, they may have to enter into litigation. However, they have the ability to change their divorce from 1B to 1A if they can come together and decide the terms of their divorce.

Can I still claim fault in a divorce in Massachusetts?

Although Massachusetts does allow individuals to refrain from claiming fault, individuals still have the option to do so. When spouses file for divorce, they are able to cite a variety of grounds. These grounds include adultery, desertion, non-support, impotence, imprisonment of five or more years, cruel and abusive treatment, and gross and confirmed habits of intoxication.

Will a judge consider fault grounds when making decisions?

When couples need to enter into litigation to decide on marital issues, a judge will make decisions for them. These decisions can be related to alimony, the distribution of assets, child support and child custody. Judges do not usually take into account the grounds that were claimed during divorce. Most fault grounds do not have an impact on these decisions except for grounds including cruel or abusive treatment.

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.