Divorce can be a sensitive subject. When you get a divorce, you may feel threatened; you’re losing the person you loved, losing assets and potentially having to lose time with your children. To understand the way a divorce works and the implications of an at-fault or no-fault divorce in Massachusetts, you need to know a few things.
First, divorce itself is simply the legal process allowing for the ending of a marriage. While all states have varying styles of divorces, Massachusetts has “no-fault” and “fault” divorces that can be uncontested or contested. To break these terms down, start with a no-fault divorce.
In simple terms, this means no one is to blame in the sense that none of the “fault” grounds have been raised. You can claim your divorce is an at-fault divorce if the marriage was ended due to adultery, impotency, abusive treatment, desertion, confirmed habits of intoxication, non-support or if one of you has a prison sentence of five or more years.
In a no-fault divorce that is uncontested, both parties agree to the divorce and agree that the marriage is ending. They don’t claim any of the fault grounds took place. In a contested version of this, one party may claim they don’t think the marriage is broken and could be repaired. This can make it harder to get a divorce, and the judge may decide that the couple should go to counseling or take other measures before a divorce will be considered. Once those actions are taken, the judge can ask the couple if they still want to get a divorced, and if so, the divorce should be granted.
Source: Massachusetts Court System, “Divorce” accessed Mar. 09, 2015