What’s the Difference Between No-Fault and Fault Divorce?

Filing for a divorce in Massachusetts without proper representation can often be a complex and confusing process. In addition, divorces can become even more complicated when they are heavily contested due to minor children or asset-related disputes.

At our practice, we see all types of family law cases that range across a broad spectrum of circumstances. However, a common question that’s asked by prospective clients is:

What’s the Difference Between a No-Fault and a Fault Divorce?

In Massachusetts, there are typically three types of divorce cases:
1. Uncontested No-Fault Divorce (Joint Filing between the parties)
2. Contested no-fault Divorce initiated by one of the parties; and
3. Contested Fault based Divorce (usually much more expensive to litigate)

Before proceeding with a divorce complaint, you will need to determine which is applicable to your situation. An irretrievable breakdown in a marriage is another term for “no-fault divorce.” This simply means you can may get a divorce for any reason; i.e. simply growing apart- financial incompatibility etc.

A “fault divorce” means there is a reason or cause for the filing. In the State of Massachusetts, legal grounds for divorce including the following:

• Adultery;
• Impotency;
• Desertion
• Drug/Alcohol Addiction
• Cruel or abusive treatment
• Refusal of Financial Support
• Imprisonment for 5 Years or Longer

The “uncontested” or “contested” portion simply defines whether both parties are mutually agreeing to the divorce or if the action is being arbitrarily initiated by one side.

If you need further clarification on what constitutes a “fault” or “contested” divorce, contact our law office at 978-961-0093. We offer a free initial consultation and will be with you throughout your divorce process.

We serve Lowell, Lawrence, Chelmsford, Dracut, Billerica and surrounding areas of Northern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

Law Offices of Bruce A. Gage

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