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Filing a divorce in Massachusetts

A contested divorce happens when either party does not agree to the divorce or the terms and conditions of the divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses can agree on all divorce-related matters. You can file a “no-fault” or “fault” divorce, regardless of whether you and your spouse decide to pursue a contested or uncontested divorce.

In Massachusetts, there are seven grounds or reasons one spouse would blame the other, including adultery, impotency and substance or domestic abuse. When a spouse files a fault-based divorce, they must prove the grounds. Therefore, most people would instead file a no-fault divorce.

How does a no-fault divorce work in Massachusetts?

If you file a no-fault divorce, that will mean your marriage is beyond repair and irretrievably broken. Neither of you holds the other accountable for the divorce. There are two ways to approach a no-fault divorce in Massachusetts:

  • Filing a 1A divorce: A 1A divorce is basically an uncontested no-fault divorce. You and your spouse agree to the divorce and the terms of the divorce.
  • Filing a 1B divorce: Conversely, a 1B divorce is a contested no-fault divorce. Yes, you both want the marriage to end, but you cannot agree on the terms of your separation.

If you and your spouse cannot reach a divorce settlement agreement, you will need to use alternative dispute resolution methods to address your disputes. Otherwise, litigation may be necessary.

What are the terms and conditions involved in a divorce?

While every divorce differs from the next, all may have a common denominator: the division of marital property. The spouses must be amenable to how they will divide all the property they acquired within the duration of the marriage, even their marital home. Other divorce issues arise when child custody, child support and alimony enter the picture. Your divorce will go much smoother if you can peacefully collaborate with your ex and negotiate on these matters.