As with any big changes in one’s life, those faced with a divorce can often feel overwhelmed by the amount of available information about divorces. However, before diving into an ocean of information we call internet, a consultation with an experienced family law attorney may provide a basic framework where it will be easier to start the dive.
Types of Divorce
There are two ways to get divorce in Massachusetts. One way is via joint petition, wherein the parties are able to come to a full agreement on all issues, including division of assets and debts, support and custodial and parenting issues. Another way to get divorced is via contested divorce, when the parties cannot agree on one or more issues. Uncontested divorces are “no-fault” divorces, which means that the parties testify to the court that their marriage suffered irretrievable breakdown, which is a sufficient ground for divorce in Massachusetts. Contested divorces can either be “no-fault” or on fault grounds. The term “fault” in this context means that the person filing for a divorce is able to demonstrate the other spouse did something wrong.
Grounds for “Fault” Divorce Actions
Massachusetts recognizes several grounds upon which an individual can obtain a “fault” divorce from a spouse. These reasons include adultery, impotency, desertion for at least one continuous year prior to the filing of the divorce, extensive drug or alcohol addiction and cruel and abusive treatment of one spouse by the other.
Length of A Divorce Process
In short, divorce process can last days, weeks, months or even years. The length of a divorce process heavily depends upon a variety of factors. Uncontested divorces tend to proceed faster than contested divorces; however, negotiation of the terms for an uncontested divorce may take some time. In a contested divorce, generally, the more issues the parties disagree upon – the longer the process will last.
How Much A Divorce in Massachusetts Cost
There are no two divorces (just like there are no two marriages) that are exactly the same or even alike. As a result, the cost of a divorce in Massachusetts may vary greatly based on the individual facts.
Property Division in Massachusetts Divorces
Massachusetts is an “equitable division” commonwealth, which means that the court divides assets, property, and debts between spouses in a fair (or “equitable”) manner. There is no presumption of an equal division of property in the event of a divorce. The statutory law (Massachusetts General Laws, c. 208, Section 34), lists the factors to be considered by the court in deciding how property is to be divided between divorcing spouses. These factors include, amongst others, the age and health of the parties, the employment status of each party, and conduct of the parties during the marriage, the contribution each party made during the marriage, and each party’s needs and the needs of the dependent children.
Resources for Divorce
Divorce Forms to File – Massachusetts Court System
Massachusetts Appeal Court
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