Divorce: Do I need to give the court a reason for wanting a divorce?
Do I need to give the court a reason for wanting a divorce?
This can be confusing if this is (hopefully) the first time you are exploring divorce options.
Every divorce needs to state a legal reason for the divorce. When you file for divorce, you must choose the legal reason, referred to as “grounds,” for why you want to get divorced.
In some cases, when both spouses agree that the best thing to do is end the marriage for whatever reason they decide between themselves, the procedure can be slightly less complicated (and less depressing).
Different Grounds for Divorce
Grounds for divorce can be split into “no fault” and “fault.” This is actually pretty self-explanatory – No fault means that neither person is to blame, but you still want the marriage to end. Fault means that one person did something wrong enough to want the marriage to end.
“No fault” Grounds
This is the sligtly-less-depressing option.
In Massachusetts, if you file for a “no fault” divorce, the grounds are called “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” This can be split into two kinds:
1A and 1B. So technical, I know; the names just refer to the specific sections of the Massachusetts divorce law that applies. You can read the MA law here. The citation is MGL chapter 208 (Massachusetts General Laws, where Chapter 208 is divorce generally), and you can click on the links to your desired section.
1A Irretrievable Breakdown where both spouses file together. This means that you and your spouse are filing for divorce together and you have agreed on all the other decisions you have to make in the divorce (like money, property, child support and child custody issues).
1B Irretrievable Breakdown where only one spouse files. This is the more sad and adversarial (you and your spouse are opponents) option where you guys cannot agree on everything. In this case, you file this complaint (filing for divorce is also called filing the “complaint.” Essentially, a complaint is any initial document filed with the court to start some kind of civil suit) by yourself, whether or not your spouse wants the divorce, too. As long as one party wants the divorce, he or she may file as such.
Fault grounds is where one spouse files for divorce and the filing spouse blames the other spouse for the end of the marriage. There are seven fault grounds:
- 1. Cruel and Abusive Treatment (this is the most common).
- 2. Desertion
- 3. Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication
- 4. Gross or wonton and cruel refusal or neglect to provide suitable support
- 5. Adultery
- 6. Impotency
- 7. Sentence of Confinement in a Penal Institution
Feel free to contact Think Pink Law for more information about divorce issues or for a free 30 minute consultation.
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