What is a Contested Divorce in Massachusetts?

When some married couples decide it would be best to get a divorce, they are able to work together and come up with a plan regarding how they will divide their assets. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes a couple does not agree on the terms of their divorce, which can make the process all the more hostile and stressful. This is what is known as a contested divorce. If you are in a situation where you cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, then it is important you read on and explore your options.

What is the difference between a “no-fault” divorce and citing fault grounds?

If you wish to get a divorce and you cite fault grounds, this means you are naming the specific reasons you wish to leave your spouse. However, you should know that if you cite fault grounds, you give your spouse an opportunity to counter your statements, which may open up a long, stressful, and expensive court process. This is part of the reason why generally, people are advised not to cite fault grounds. Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state, which means that you do not have to cite fault grounds in order to file for divorce.

What are the different types of fault grounds you can cite?

While, as mentioned above, people are generally advised to shy away from citing fault grounds, if you still wish to do so, you should know the specific fault grounds you may cite:

  • Desertion
  • Adultery
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Non-support
  • Domestic violence
  • Imprisonment for 5 or more years
  • Impotence

You should also note that citing fault grounds generally has little to no impact on the outcome of your case. While citing fault grounds may not be the best option to win your case, this does not mean that any incidents of domestic violence or abuse should not be reported. You should always report these incidences first, and then contact an attorney who will have your back.

Is there more than one type of no-fault divorce?

In Massachusetts, there are two types of “no-fault” divorce, which include 1A divorce and 1B divorce. If you file for a 1A divorce, then you are filing for an uncontested divorce, which means both you and your spouse agree on the following terms of your divorce:

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Parenting time
  • Custody time
  • Division of marital assets

If such terms and agreements cannot be made, then you would file for a 1B divorce, which implies that you are filing for a contested divorce. If you are filing for a 1B divorce, this means one party believes the marriage is irretrievably broken down, while the other party does not. However, this is not set in stone. If at some point during the separation process both parties are able to come to an agreement regarding the terms of their divorce, then they may change their divorce filing from a 1B to a 1A divorce.

Contact a trustworthy Massachusetts divorce lawyer

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.