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Massachusetts law and no fault divorce

Some Massachusetts residents believe that a spouse must provide compelling grounds before a divorce will be granted. While a divorce may still be granted in Massachusetts for reasons including adultery, abandonment or alcohol or drug addiction, grounds such as this are no longer required. Massachusetts like every other state has adopted a no-fault divorce law, which means that a divorce will be granted if one of the spouses maintains that the marriage is broken beyond repair due to differences that cannot be reconciled.

There are a number of minor technical requirements that must be satisfied before a couple may divorce in Massachusetts. The couple must establish residence in the commonwealth, and there is generally a waiting period of 90 days before a divorce is granted. The residency requirement may be satisfied in a number of ways, but the most common method is demonstrating that the couple have resided together in Massachusetts at some point or one of the spouses has lived in the commonwealth for at least a year.

While Massachusetts is not a community property state that requires marital assets to be divided equally, the laws of the commonwealth do require such distribution to be equitable. Couples are encourage to reach amicable agreements regarding these issues, but the courts will distribute assets equitably between the spouses if such an agreement remains elusive.

Seeking a divorce remains a difficult and emotionally draining step to take even though most of the legal hurdles have been removed. An experienced family law attorney will likely be familiar with the understandable desire that many spouses have to get through the process as quickly as possible and with the minimum of conflict. However, an attorney may point out to a client that the decisions made during a divorce can have lasting effects and can counsel against giving up some rights in the name of expediency.

Source: Findlaw, Massachusetts Marital Property Laws

Source: Findlaw, "Massachusetts Legal Requirements for Divorce", November 25, 2014

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