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What type of divorce proceeding should you initiate?

When you recognize your marriage is over, you do not want to sit around and do nothing about it. Initiating divorce proceedings is a daunting task, but one that must occur in these situations. Do you know what type of divorce your situation falls under?

In Massachusetts, the law allows you to file a divorce as a no-fault or fault proceeding. Each has its pros and cons to consider.

No-fault divorce

If neither you nor your spouse directly caused the end of your marriage, you may consider initiating the divorce under the no-fault category. It means the parties agree that their marriage is over and beyond repair. Two kinds of no-fault divorce exist:

  • An uncontested divorce in which both parties agree that the union needs to end and come to mutually agreeable terms for property and asset division, child support and visitation and alimony
  • A contested divorce in which the parties agree the marriage is over, but they do not agree on how to divide everything; this is the most common filing in family law matters

Fault divorce

When one party blames the other for breaking the marriage, he or she can file the proceedings as a fault divorce. The party filing under this category must have proof that the other spouse committed one of the following seven acts leading to the divorce:

  • Infidelity
  • Abusive behavior
  • Untreated addiction (drug or alcohol)
  • Impotence
  • Desertion
  • Nonsupportive
  • Incarcerated for more than five years

This type of divorce can wind up costing both parties substantially more money as the allegations need proving and defending. However, it can end up as the quicker route depending on the evidence and the facts of the case. The prevailing party in this type of divorce usually gets the more substantial award, although not always.

Filing for divorce in Massachusetts forces you to consider the implications of proving fault or not. It is best to think about the totality of the situation when setting out on this path.

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