General Divorce Questions
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How long do I have to live in Massachusetts before I can file for divorce?
If the reason for your divorce happened outside of Massachusetts, the plaintiff (person who is filing for divorce) must have resided in Massachusetts for at least one year prior to filing for a divorce.
Who is considered the Plaintiff and who is the Defendant?
The person who files for divorce is termed the “Plaintiff”. The other is the “Defendant”.
What if we have an Agreement?
If you and your spouse are are able to reach agreement before filing, you can file a Joint Petition for Divorce (known as a 1-B divorce) along with the Agreement, and you and your spouse will be termed “co-petitioners”.
What is the difference between a Fault Divorce and a No-Fault Divorce?
A “fault” divorce case is when one spouse has accused the other of a wrong-doing that caused their marriage to fall apart. A “no-fault” case, in Massachusetts known as one for “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”, is one in which the marriage fell apart under its own weight. Most divorces in Massachusetts are brought on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown.
What are legal grounds for a Fault Divorce in Massachusetts?
MA divorce law has seven fault grounds for divorce:
- Cruel and abusive physical and/or emotional treatment
- Desertion, termed as leaving the family without justification or intent to return
- Confinement in prison for more than 5 years
- Habitual intoxication, meaning excessive drinking and/or drug use
- Impotence inability of one party to have sex
- Failure to provide support
How long does a contested divorce take?
A contested divorce case is supposed to go from filing to trial within fourteen (14) months. After the conclusion of trial, the Judge will issue a divorce judgment that will be final 90 days later.
How long does an irretrievable breakdown divorce with an agreement take?
Upon filing a joint petition for divorce and divorce settlement agreement, a hearing will be scheduled within 3 or 4 weeks. If the Judge approves the agreement, a Judgment of Divorce will enter 30 days later and become final 90 days after that.