Massachusetts courts and divorce uncontested adultery
Discover why our clients return to us and recommend us to their friends and acquaintances. In Massachusetts, there are two types of divorce cases generally. This page offers a guide to the grounds for divorce under both an uncontested case and a contested case, which there are many. This page also dispels many of the common misconceptions about the grounds for divorce. In our practice, we commonly hear the following questions, which may seem familiar to you and your situation:. These are good questions and the information contained in this page should help answer these inquiries.
An uncontested case means that the parties agree on all issues to resolve their divorce case.
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If parties agree to the terms of their divorce before a divorce case is filed, they will file a Section 1A divorce, which includes a joint petition and separation agreement. If parties agree to the terms of their divorce after a divorce case is filed and it has been six months since the filing, they can still resolve their case under Section 1B by reaching a full, written agreement on all issues. A contested case is a case that is started because the parties do not have a full, written agreement to resolve all the issues in their case prior to filing.
The contested case is almost always based on Section 1B irreconcilable differences, i. One of the very common misunderstandings about divorce cases in Massachusetts. If no agreement is reached, the court will have a trial on the divorce. There are few calculable benefits to filing for divorce based on fault. Another possible benefit is that you just want to make the divorce process more painful for the other side.
First, you have to prove the fault. This means that if you are seeking divorce based on adultery, for example, you have to prove that your spouse cheated on you.
That can be difficult to do. If you are not successful offering relevant and competent evidence to support your claim of adultery, the court can deny your request for divorce and you will still be married! This is because you have to have evidence to support your claim.
Third, most people do not agree to a divorce based on fault, so it is unlikely that any agreement will be reached before the court holds a trial. Below we have provided a discussion of each type of divorce case based on fault and provide examples for each i. The fault based divorce actions include:. In Massachusetts, judgment of divorce may be granted when one spouse commits adultery. This ground for divorce has been utilized since Massachusetts came into being. The Supreme Judicial Court has made a finding that adultery has a destructive impact on the bonds of matrimony.
Notably, adultery is also a crime and therefore it is treated somewhat differently than other causes of action for divorce. The name of the person alleged to have committed adultery with a spouse cannot be inserted into the pleadings unless the court allows that to occur.
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Even if the parties to a Boston divorce case never lived together, adultery may still be pleaded. It may be difficult to prove adultery. While direct evidence is ideal i. Facts surrounding adultery occurring in a marriage may be relevant to the issues of alimony spousal support and property division.
Thus, even if adultery is not pleaded as the grounds for divorce, facts relating to the adultery and cheating by one spouse may still be quite relevant. However, the adultery must be given the appropriate weight and consideration. An example where adultery may be used as a grounds for a divorce include the obvious fact scenario where one spouse has an affair with a third party. The affair must be proven with evidence, such as testimony from a private investigator, admissions by the cheater, or by hauling the third party into court.
There are not very many states that recognize impotence as grounds for divorce. Some states allow an annulment, or nullity action, if one spouse is impotent, including Massachusetts of course. However, if the court grants the annulment, it is as if the marriage never existed. As a result, the non-impotent spouse could not seek alimony or the division of property under M.
Thus, there may be an advantage to file for divorce on the grounds of impotence rather than a nullity complaint.
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Impotence does not mean that the person is sterile and cannot have children. It means that the person was unable to copulate. Consent is necessary to rely upon this fact. The Court must satisfy itself that consent to divorce has been given by the respondent only after the respondent has understood the consequences of his or her consent. Consent is not needed to rely on this fact. Section 7 of Act provides that, for the purposes of section 2 1 d and i in determining whether the period for which the parties to a marriage have not lived as man and wife has been continuous, the Court shall disregard any period or periods not exceeding six months in the aggregate during which the parties resumed living as man and wife.
Although the court may find one or more of the facts required to be established for the dissolution of the marriage, the court shall not grant a petition for divorce unless it is satisfied, on all the evidence, that the marriage has broken down beyond reconciliation. Section 1 i of the Act states the ground for the commencement of divorce proceedings. A petition for divorce may be presented to the Court by either party to a marriage. However, for avoidance of doubt, court means the High Court or the Circuit Court section 43 of the Act subject to the Chief Justice's power to transfer an action under section 40 of the Act The divorce petition is the document which starts divorce proceedings.
This document informs both the Respondent and the Court the legal basis on which the Petitioner is pursuing a divorce. The Petitioner files a petition at either the High Court or Circuit Court and then the Registrar will cause the Petition filed to be served on the Respondent through the Court bailiff. To issue a petition, it must be sent to the Court in triplicate. There is a Court fee for issuing a divorce petition. It is important to note that a divorce petition cannot be issued within the first year of marriage, however the petitioner can rely on events which occurred within the first year of marriage.
A petition for the dissolution of marriage cannot be presented to the court by the petitioner within two years from the date of the marriage. That means that, a party to a marriage which is less than two years cannot commence a divorce proceedings notwithstanding the existing of any of the facts necessitating divorce under the Act. There is however a proviso to the restriction on petitioning for a divorce. The court may on application allow the presentation of a petition for divorce within two years from the date of the marriage on the ground of substantial hardship suffered by the petitioner or depravity on the part of the respondent.
Click here to view the full article. The contents of this publication, current at the date of publication set out above, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.
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Is Infidelity Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts?
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How to Get a Massachusetts Divorce | LoveToKnow
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