While divorce may not be as common as marriage, it certainly occurs with frequency in Massachusetts. If you are considering getting a divorce, you likely have questions about the process and your rights. The following considers some of the most common questions about divorce in Massachusetts, including whether or not you need a divorce attorney:
What Are the Grounds for Divorce?
In Massachusetts, an individual can either seek a no-fault or a fault divorce from their spouse. There are six grounds for a fault-based divorce in the state, found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208. These are:
- Cruel and abusive treatment;
- Gross habits of intoxication;
- Being sentenced/confined to prison; and
If one of the above criteria are satisfied, a person can still seek a divorce under the no-fault grounds: irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Per Massachusetts law, there are two ways to seek divorce based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. First, the divorce can be uncontested, meaning that both parties are in agreement about terminating the marriage and issues of the case. Or, the divorce may be contested, in which case there is no written agreement about child support, alimony, custody, and division of assets.
Can My Marriage Be Annulled?
If you rushed into your marriage and have one been married for a short amount of time, you may be wondering whether or not you are allowed to get an annulment. However, an annulment will only be granted if you can prove that your marriage is voidable. In order for a marriage to be voidable, one of the following criteria must be satisfied:
- You were married to someone else at the time of your most recent marriage;
- You have married a relative;
- You or your spouse were not mentally capable to consent to the marriage at the time that it was performed;
- You or your spouse is not capable of sexual intercourse;
- You or your spouse was under the legal age of marriage at the time of the union; or
- Fraud or deception played a role in the marriage.
If you believe that one of the above applies to your marriage, you should seek legal counsel.
What Are the Laws Regarding Property Division in Massachusetts?
If you are getting a divorce, you likely have questions about how your property will be divided and what you will allowed to retain. The best thing that you can do to ensure that your interests are protected is to come to an out-of-court agreement with your spouse about who gets what. Otherwise, a court will make the decision for you.
If the court is responsible for making the decision about how property is to be divided, it will do so based on the principle of equitable – not equal – division
Do I Need a Massachusetts Divorce Attorney?
Getting a divorce can be messy and legally complex. To help ensure that things go as smoothly as possible, you should seek a consultation with an experienced Andover divorce attorney today. At The Law Offices of Attorney Michael F. Mimno, Family Law Specialist, our experienced divorce attorney will work hard to protect your interests.