When it comes to divorce, couples can file for a no-fault or a fault divorce. Fault means that one person is responsible for the failure of the marriage. This typically lays the groundwork for terms to be negotiated in the divorce agreement. There are 7 different fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts detailed below.
Fault Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts
Adultery is a common reason for divorce. The difficulty, however, is in proving that it actually took place. Often times, one spouse accuses another of cheating but does not have any concrete proof that can be presented in a court of law. Before using adultery as grounds for divorce, it is important for the accuser to gather sufficient evidence. This is the reason why some hire private investigators or perform their own detective work before confronting a cheating spouse.
2. Cruel & Abusive Treatment
Cruel and abusive treatment is another common grounds for divorce. It covers treatment that causes harm, whether emotional or physical. A wide range of behavior can be classified as cruel and abusive. The most obvious would be physical abuse with visible bodily harm. However, behavior such as verbal abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, or even neglect can fall into this category.
To use desertion as fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts, one must demonstrate that the other spouse left for at least one year and is not planning to return. Additionally, that spouse must have left of his/her own free will (not at your urging) and did not have a good reason to leave. For example, a spouse serving in the armed forces would not be considered a deserter. It’s important to note that there are some special circumstances where desertion may apply even if a spouse has not physically left the home.
4. Substance Abuse
“Excessive” use of alcohol or drugs is also grounds for divorce. Under this category, one must prove that the substance abuse was continual (and not merely a one-time occurrence). Additionally, the substance abuse must be of his/own free will.
Intimacy is certainly important in a relationship.Sometimes otherwise loving couples may choose not to stay together due to the impotency of one party. Thus, although rare, impotency can be grounds for divorce.
6. Prison Sentences (Confinement)
Confinement can be used as grounds for divorce if one spouse is sentenced to spend 5 or more years in prison. Although there are cases where inmates end up serving less time (for good behavior), this category is based on sentences and not actual time spent in prison.
7. Lack of Support
Lack of support applies to financial support. To use this, one spouse must prove that the other has the ability to support him/her but refuses to do so. Additionally, one must prove that this lack of support causes physical harm (or the potential for physical harm). An example of this is one spouse being sick and the other refusing to pay for medical care.
Assistance with Divorces in Massachusetts
The above provide an overview of the 7 fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts. In many cases, the grounds for divorce argues in a court of law may not be the true reason for divorce. It comes down to what can be proven in a divorce case. Every marriage and personal situation is different. Selecting the proper grounds for divorce may be only one of many difficult decisions to be made in the divorce process. To improve your chances for a desirable divorce outcome, it is important to get proper representation. Please contact us for a free consultation on your impending divorce.