Getting a Divorce in Massachusetts
Regardless of who initiates it, a divorce is heart-wrenching. There can be sorrow about promises made, anger about promises broken, and worry about children, finances, and the future. Because divorce is incredibly emotional, it’s crucial to have a Boston family lawyer help you navigate the legal process. Your Massachusetts family law attorney will be clear-eyed when you are not, and will always keep your best interests front of mind.
In order to file for a divorce in Massachusetts, both you and your spouse must live in Massachusetts; you must have been a Massachusetts resident for one year; or you are living in Massachusetts and the cause of the divorce happened here. If both spouses agree with the terms of the divorce, you can file for an uncontested divorce. Even if only one spouse spouse wants a divorce, the divorce will still be granted. If there is disagreement about the terms of the breakup, then you can file for a contested divorce.
The majority of divorces filed in Massachusetts are “no fault” divorces. This means that neither spouse pins the blame on the other, but rather that the marriage has no future and both people are ready to end it and move on with their lives. The official basis for this type of divorce is “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.”
There are two types of no-fault divorces: uncontested and contested. In an uncontested no-fault divorce, prior to filing the court documents, both spouses agree to all of the conditions of the divorce. This can include provisions related to child custody and support, property division, and spousal support. In Massachusetts, this type of divorce is also called a 1A divorce.
In a contested no-fault divorce, both spouses agree that neither is to blame for the split, but aren’t able to agree to the terms of the divorce. They may have different viewpoints about spousal support, parenting time, or who will receive which assets. This is called a 1B divorce in Massachusetts.
While a no-fault divorce – particularly an uncontested no-fault divorce – is fairly straightforward, a fault divorce may be more complicated. In Massachusetts, there are seven possible grounds for a fault divorce:
- Adultery, which is having a sexual relationship with someone other than their spouse
- Impotency, which is the inability of a spouse to perform sexually
- A pattern of abusing alcohol or drugs
- Cruel and abusive treatment, which can mean physical violence or mental anguish
- Refusing or neglecting to provide support, which means that one spouse endangered the life or health of the other by not providing support, even though they have the means to do so
- Desertion, which means that one spouse moved out and abandon the other at least a year prior to filing for divorce
- Incarceration, which means that a spouse has been sentenced to five or more years in prison
While a fault divorce requires a burden of proof that does not exist in no-fault divorce, there are circumstances in which a Massachusetts fault divorce makes sense. That is why it is in your best interest – whether you are the filing spouse or the responding spouse – to have an experienced Boston divorce attorney represent you.
If you are considering filing for a divorce or if your spouse filed for divorce, it’s time to call PiltserCowan Law. Our divorce attorneys are compassionate, diligent, and determined to get the outcome that best aligns with our clients’ desires and interests. Call us to schedule a free consultation.