Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Massachusetts No Fault Divorce

According to MA no-fault divorce laws, divorce can be obtained on the grounds of “no-fault” which means that none of the spouses need to prove that the other spouse is at “fault” or has done a “wrong doing”. Thus, the issue of “blame-game” is no more existent in the “no-fault” grounds. The spouse who wants to get the divorce in the state of Massachusetts, can state that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down” owing to “irreconcilable differences” or “incompatibility of temperament” between the spouses.

Choosing no-fault grounds or fault grounds

MA is a mixed state and hence, one can file divorce on either of the grounds. But many people file no-fault grounds because it takes lesser time and is more economical. Moreover, one can avoid the messy ugly court battles that one has to face to prove the “fault grounds” in fault divorce cases. People also avoid children being the witness to such happenings and prevent a less painful option of “no-fault” grounds.

Now-a-days most of the courts view all divorce cases as “no-fault” ones and consider the fault of a party only if it affects child custody issue or property division. If you are sure that you will have an edge over the other spouse on the matter of child custody or property division if you could prove the “wrongdoing of the other spouse”, then only must you file for “fault” grounds.

Uncontested MA no-fault divorce

If your divorce case is “no-fault” and you and your spouse has settled the matters regarding child custody or property division “outside the court”, then the divorce is called “uncontested”. In such cases, the court hearing is just a formal procedure and the judge would look into the marital agreement papers, custody agreements etc to see that all the legalities are in order. Thus, an uncontested divorce is very quick!

Separation period in MA no-fault divorce

If a party files no-fault divorce in a court of Massachusetts, then the court seeks a “petition for divorce” where the settlement of matters concerning child custody, property division, spousal support etc is mentioned in detail. In these cases, MA courts ask the couples to be legally separated for 6 months. If there is no hope of reconciliation during this period, then the final decree of divorce would be awarded to the couple.

Residential requirements in MA no-fault divorce

According to MA no-fault divorce laws, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum period of one year prior to filing the divorce case. Otherwise, if the actual cause of the divorce occurred in that state, the earlier requirement would be removed.

Property division in MA no-fault divorce

MA is an “equitable distribution of property” where the property is divided among both the spouses, equitably and fairly. If the spouses are unable to arrive at an agreement regarding property division, then the courts would consider the length of the marriage, financial needs of each spouse etc, while dividing the property.

Child custody and MA no-fault divorce

In most of the cases of no-fault divorce, all attempts are made by the spouses that the child custody matters and child support are settled “outside the marriage”. They may be asked to participate in child custody mediation so that a sound parenting plan, visitation schedule etc are drafted by the parents. In case where child custody issue is not being settled by the parents, then the courts would intervene. Courts follow MA child custody guidelines keeping in mind the welfare and safety of the child as the top most priority. Child custody contests may take longer time depending on the complications of the case and of course, the number of cases pending in front of the courts.

You may go ahead with a DIY divorce if yours is an uncontested no-fault divorce and you are confident out the divorce laws. In all other cases, it is better to seek the advices of a reputed attorney who can guide you in the legal matters concerning the divorce. The procedure may be costly, but it is more practical to use a lawyer than to get messed up in legal matters.

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