Legal Advice on Divorces

Divorce is the final termination of the union between two people. It terminates the legal duties and obligations that the parties agree to when they entered into the bonds of marriage.

Divorce differs from an Annulment, which declares the marriage never existed and that the marriage was null and void.  The process of divorce involves issues of alimony, child support, child custody, visitation, distribution of property and the division of any marital debt.

When discussing Complaints for Divorce you must first decide what type of Divorce to file for.  In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you need to have a legal reason for a divorce. Legal reasons, as they are called, are the “grounds for divorce”.

Types of Divorces

There are two types of Divorces. “Fault” Divorces and “No-Fault” Divorces.

Fault Divorce

A Fault Divorce is based on one of seven faults or “grounds” that are necessary in filing the complaint.

They include; Cruel and abusive treatment, Utter Desertion Continued for One Year, Sentence of Confinement in a Penal Institution, gross and confirmed habits of intoxication caused by voluntary and excessive use of intoxicating liquor, opium or other drug, gross or wanton and cruel refusal or neglect to provide suitable support and maintenance for the other spouse, adultery, impotency.

These grounds are seldom used anymore in the Commonwealth. The reason they are seldom used, are that both types of divorces result in the same outcome. The difference being “Fault” divorces need to prove the grounds that the divorce was based on. This usually means a longer, more complicated litigation.

No Fault Divorce

No-Fault Divorce is based on an Irretrievable Breakdown of the marriage. In order to proceed in this manner, the parties or party filing for divorce must state that there exists an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage that continues to exist.

If the parties agree both individuals file what is called a Joint Petition for Divorce. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208 section 1A, they file a 1A- Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage. The parties to this type of Divorce must agree to all issues involved for example, custody, visitation, child support, alimony, division of property and debts, and health insurance coverage.

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208 section 1B, only one party files a document called a Complaint for Divorce in which they state that there is an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”. In this type of divorce the parties cannot agree to all of the issues involved or one party does not want to get divorced.

A common misconception is that an individual cannot get divorce when the other states that they will never agree to a divorce. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, people are not forced to remain in a marriage that they no longer want to be in.

Attorney James J. Hoffey is well experienced in divorces and can assure you will get the best outcome possible outcome in your situation. Contact Hoffey Law Office in Brookfield, Massachusetts at (508) 867-2649 or jhoffey@hoffey.com for a
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