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No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce: Why File for a Fault Divorce?

Our divorce lawyers have heard various reasons why couples decided to get a divorce—whether it is due to an inability to resolve conflicts, not having shared long-term goals, or simply not being in love anymore. In other cases, a spouse might have been unfaithful; in rarer cases, a spouse might have been misleading about who they are. However, most couples do not need to specify the cause of marriage’s ‘failure’ when filing a divorce. Ever since the law made no-fault divorce possible, courts have not required divorces to be the cause of one person’s actions. For couples who agree that a divorce is necessary, dissolving the marriage is far easier than it used to be.

No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce is when the couples have accepted that the relationship is broken beyond repair and do not blame each other for it. In Massachusetts, the no-fault divorce is known as “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”.

There are 2 different options for a no-fault divorce:

  • “1A” no-fault divorce applies when both spouses agree with the divorce and have created a written document with respect to child support, parenting time, child custody, and division of assets.
  • “1B” no-fault divorce applies when both spouses want a divorce but disagree on the terms of the divorce regarding custody, support, or material property issues.

Fault divorce is when the person asking for the divorce believes the other spouse is considered at fault for the breakdown of the marriage—and wants to make their allegations part of the legal action.

Why Would You Want to File for Fault Divorce?

If your spouse is not in agreement with the divorce and refuses to sign divorce papers, the divorce will halt. But if a spouse alleges wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse—such as the situations listed below—you are free to pursue a contested divorce whether your spouse signs the divorce papers or not.

Filing for fault divorce provides additional options for spouses who have suffered due to:

  • Adultery
  • Abusive or controlling treatment
  • Drug or alcoholic addiction
  • Impotency
  • Desertion (at least 1 year)
  • Imprisonment (5 years or more)

Although many believe that a fault divorce gives the spouse filing an edge in property division or alimony, this is not always the case. Since every situation is unique, it is important to discuss the details of your divorce with an attorney to see which route is best for you.

If you are filing for a divorce and seek guidance—or have been served with divorce papers—contact our divorce attorneys today! We are here to help you receive the best possible outcome for your case.

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