What are the grounds for divorce in Massachusetts?
A divorce may be granted in Massachusetts divorce law using either “Fault” or “No-Fault” grounds.
Fault grounds include:
(3) desertion for one year;
(4) confirmed habits of intoxication cause by the use of drugs or liquor;
(5) cruel and abusive treatment;
(6) refusal to provide suitable maintenance.
No-Fault grounds are:
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Parties may file complaint and affidavits of irretrievability, and within 90 days, file a separation agreement.
Of these, the “No-Fault” ground is the most straightforward and easiest to prove.
In Massachusetts divorce law, the court declares the marriage contract broken; in an annulment, the court says that there never was a marriage. Annulment is much more difficult to prove — and is much rarer — than divorce. If you want to go this route, you will definitely need to speak to a divorce attorney. Of course, if you want an annulment for religious reasons, you’ll need to consult with your priest, minister, or rabbi as well.
You’ll need to provide your divorce lawyer with the following documentation, in order to proceed with your dissolution under Massachusetts divorce law. Start gathering everything together as soon as possible so that you can find out what might be missing and submit any requests for duplicates.
- Full addresses and phone numbers of both parties.
- Full names, birth dates, and addresses of all children of the marriage, their school and grade.
- Information about any prior marriage of either spouse, including a certified copy of the divorce decree.
- A copy of any domestic contracts (e.g. a prenuptial agreement).
- Information about any previous legal proceedings between the spouses or involving any of the children.
- Dates and particulars about any previous separations, attempts at reconciliation, or marriage counseling.
- Your previous year’s income tax return, and any related data from the IRS.
- Information about your current income, e.g. a current pay slip.
- A list of substantial assets and liabilities of both spouses.
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