What is the Process of Divorce in Massachusetts?

Divorce is an issue many couples face. While a divorce can be an arduous process, it may be the best decision for you, your spouse, and your families. To make the process as easy as possible, it is important to be educated and retain the right legal help. Read on to learn more about the divorce process in Massachusetts and the options you may have.

State Requirements

If you wish to file for divorce in the state of Massachusetts, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • You have lived in the state for over a year
  • You have lived in the state as a married couple and the grounds for divorce occurred within state lines

Grounds for Divorce

Massachusetts is a no-fault state, and there are two main categories of no-fault divorce: 1A divorce and 1B divorce.

  • 1A divorce is an uncontested divorce. This means that both parties agree that they want a divorce and have resolved any marital issues, including child support, parenting time, and alimony, among other matters.
  • 1B divorce is a contested divorce. This means that only one party wants a divorce and/or the couple cannot resolve their marital issues. If the issues become resolved, it is possible to change the divorce from 1B to 1A. If not, the couple may have to litigate.

You may also cite a fault ground. In Massachusetts, you can cite from the following seven fault grounds:

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

Divorce Options

There are a few different processes you can go through to obtain a divorce. The main methods are mediated divorce, collaborative divorce, and litigated divorce.

Mediated Divorce

If a couple wishes to avoid going to court, they may choose mediation. In a mediated divorce, a neutral third party will attempt to help the couple work through any outstanding issues upon which they cannot agree. When all issues are resolved, the mediator will draft a divorce agreement. Once the agreement is signed, the mediator can present it to the court, and if the court agrees to the terms, the couple will be granted a Judgement of Divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

Another way to avoid court is through a collaborative divorce. Here, the couple can negotiate respectfully, each with an attorney present. Collaborative attorneys will help their clients find unique and innovative solutions for complex issues. Some of these issues may include alimony, division of assets, child support and child custody.

Litigation

Most couples attempt to avoid litigation because it can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. If a divorce is litigated, it means you and your spouse could not come to a resolution about the outstanding matters of your divorce and your case will go to court. A judge will examine your case and make decisions on your behalf.

Regardless of which path you and your partner choose to take, you will need skilled legal support.

Contact our 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.