Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Getting Massachusetts Divorce

Getting Massachusetts divorce requires the couple to follow all the guidelines set by the state laws. Massachusetts permits both fault and no fault divorces. On the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, a lawsuit for divorce could be initiated in Massachusetts by a signed petition by both the spouses. The points related to a Massachusetts divorce are described below.

Grounds for Divorce

Massachusetts allows both fault based and no-fault divorces. Grounds for fault based divorces are:

  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • Desertion continued for one year
  • A prison sentence for 5 years or more
  • Confirmed habits of intoxication by use of liquor, opium or other drugs
  • Refusal to provide suitable support and maintenance for other spouse
  • Adultery and impotency.

No-fault divorce in which neither spouse is blamed for the breakdown of marriage is given on grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

Residency Requirements for Divorce

To file for a divorce in Massachusetts:

  • You and your spouse should have lived as husband and wife in the state, and the grounds for divorce happened there.
  • You and your spouse should have lived as husband and wife in the state, and one of you has lived there when the reason for divorce took place, regardless of location of that event.
  • You should live in the state for one year after filing divorce papers if the reason for divorce occurred outside the state.
  • You should live in the state when you file for divorce, and the grounds took place in the state.

Division of Property

In Massachusetts, assets and debts acquired during the marriage called marital property are divided equally when you divorce. Courts look at many factors while deciding property division issues, including:

  • Marriage length
  • Conduct of spouses during marriage
  • Age, health, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, estate, liabilities and needs of each party
  • Opportunity of the parties to obtain future income and assets
  • Present and future needs of children of the marriage
  • Contribution made by each party to the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of the marital property.

The distribution of marital property is final and canít be modified or changed unless both parties agree to the change.


While getting Massachusetts divorce, a court can order alimony to either spouse. In deciding the amount of alimony, the court generally considers factors such as:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Conduct of spouses in a fault based divorce
  • Future chances for each spouse to obtain assets and income
  • Present and future needs of any dependent children of marriage
  • Contribution made by each spouse to the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of any property, including homemaking
  • Any health insurance coverage.

A court can order temporary support while divorce is pending. Most alimony is ordered for a specific length of time.

While getting Massachusetts divorce, all the above mentioned issues come for discussion.

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