Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Do I have to allege fault to file for divorce in Massachusetts?

A divorce is a complicated process in terms of the legal decisions that must be made and the care and compassion one must exhibit to ensure that their and their children's emotions are supported. To this end, Massachusetts residents must carefully examine the different options that they have for bringing their relationships to their ends. In Massachusetts a person may elect to use fault as the basis of their divorce or they may use the state's no fault option to terminate their marriage.

There are seven grounds of fault that the Massachusetts courts recognize for ending marriages through divorce. Those grounds include adultery, desertion, intoxication, abuse, non-support, incarceration and impotency. However, not all individuals wish to discuss their personal family matters in the public venue of a court. They may wish to spare themselves and their kids the experience of having their serious family problems discussed in front of others.

In Massachusetts a person may file for divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. This is the state's no fault option and even though the filing party does not have to accuse their partner of wrongdoing they still must meet the residency and filing requirements of divorce.

After determining if a divorce will be based on fault grounds or the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage the parties to the divorce may decide if their divorce will be contested or uncontested. If the divorce is uncontested then the parties agree to the terms of their marital dissolution. If they do not have complete agreement then the matter is contested and may require the intervention of the courts to help them sort out their differences.

Every divorce is unique and will proceed on its own facts and necessities. With the help of a dedicated family law attorney a divorcing party may find support and guidance to work through one of the most difficult tasks of their life.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator


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Needham, MA 02494

Phone: 508-507-8742
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