Should You File as a Fault or No-Fault Divorce in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts divorce has specific rules that differ from some other states, specifically in two varieties of divorces. Filing for “no fault” or “fault” divorces might sound as simple as they sound. Regardless, both may not always be simple with “fault” divorces always being the most complicated.

Some of the details involved can make even a “no fault” divorce more complicated if there isn’t a specific reason behind a marital split.

The “No-Fault” Divorce

These type of divorces are easier in Massachusetts because they’re non-contested cases. It’s when a couple amicably agrees that neither one is to blame for the divorce despite knowing the marriage is over. When there’s a fortunate enough situation where there’s no contention, these type of divorces can usually be completed within a few months. But the court may contest such a move if there isn’t a clear reason behind whats deemed “irretrievable breakdown of marriage.”

That’s when “no fault” divorces can veer off into more complicated territory. It’s also why these cases are divided up into two subcategories. The first is when both parties agree to be involved in the proceedings. The second is when only one person in the couple files for a “no fault” divorce and the other doesn’t. A hearing is done six months after filing the complaint and where the other spouse can agree to the divorce or not.

When the other person disagrees, it can turn into a “Fault” situation.

Filing for a “Fault” Divorce

Other times, a fault divorce can be filed outright rather than starting out as “no fault.” And it’s here when things can become quite contentious if also prolonged in litigation. Filing this way gives a specific reason for the divorce by way of the significant other being blamed for doing something wrong. General cases are usually domestic abuse, adultery, or simply walking away from the marriage for an extended time without any explanation.

In the above latter case, it’s usually called desertion and can sometimes be hard to prove without exacting evidence. The spouse has to prove to the judge that the spouse was away from home more than a year while the other spouse stayed there.

As well, when a spouse states adultery or other faults behind the divorce, all cases have to be proven to a judge in order for the divorce to proceed. Of course, this can lead to complications and why a divorce attorney will be needed to deal with the possible protracted litigation.

Keep in mind that a fault divorce can sometimes be based on more than just abuse. It can sometimes go on the health problem of impotency or even the significant other being in prison for an extended time. For some people, both of those situations can cause distress, even if the faulted spouse is dealing with issues beyond his or her control.

If you need an experienced Massachusetts divorce attorney to help you in a complicated divorce case like this, call us.

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