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Divorce Types 101: What You Need To Know


If you're currently thinking about divorce or just researching how the process works, you might be surprised that there are several options. Different scenarios call for different types of divorce. Your lawyer can assess your case and determine the best path forward for you, your spouse, and your family.

Here, we'll cover some of the most common types of divorce:


No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorces are the most common. In a no-fault divorce, neither party is considered at fault for the divorce. The divorce is requested without casting any blame on either party.

With a no-fault divorce, one spouse can file for divorce whether their partner is in agreement or not. They don't need to provide grounds for the divorce, and they don't need to publicize any issues in their marriage that they may want to keep private.


The petitioner may not seek financial compensation for their spouse's wrongdoing in this type of divorce.

There are two types of no-fault divorces in Massachusetts. They are 1A (See Joint Petition Below) and 1B divorce. If you are filing for an uncontested divorce, meaning you and your spouse can agree on terms surroundingchild custody, child support, alimony, and property division, you will file a 1A divorce. That being said, if you cannot agree on all of the aforementioned, you will file a 1B divorce, which means that you are filing a no-fault contested divorce. This generally happens when one spouse feels as though their marriage is irretrievably broken down and the other does not


At-Fault Divorce

At-fault divorces are less commonly used, and not available in every state. In this case, one party is seeking a divorce due to some wrongdoing on the part of the spouse. This might include infidelity, abandonment, and even abuse.

In an at-fault divorce, the petitioner typically seeks a larger portion of the marital assets, more optimal custody agreements, or more favorable spousal support.


Joint Petition for Divorce

A “joint petition” is filed when the parties agree on how to resolve all of the issues surrounding their separation. This includes grounds for divorce, division of assets, custody & visitation, health insurance, retirement plans, alimony, child support, etc. The parties will be required to file a petition for divorce, several procedural documents and a settlement agreement that documents how they will resolve each and every issue. After all documents are drafted, negotiated and signed, the parties file the petition with the Court, along with all the corresponding documents, and request that a date be assigned for an uncontested hearing. At that hearing, the parties appear for testimony and review of the case by the Judge.

What is the general timeline for a DivorceThere is no way to answer this as each Divore case is different. If you and your spouse agree to terms like child custody and property division, your divorce will be finalized quicker. The minimum amount of time for a divorce to finalize is 90 days because that is the length of the statutory waiting period.


Residency Requirements for Divorce in Massachusetts

There are two different ways to meet the residency requirement for divorce in Massachusetts:

  • If the cause of the divorce happened in Massachusetts, you must be a resident of the state when you file for divorce.

  • If the cause of divorce happened outside of the state, you must have lived in Massachusetts for a full year before filing.

The residency requirement is intended to prevent spouses from moving to Massachusetts for the express purpose of filing for divorce there. (Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 208, § 5 (2021).)

As a practical matter, of course, it's not always clear exactly when your marriage broke down beyond repair—the cause of an uncontested divorce. But if you were living together in Massachusetts when one of you moved out, or when you agreed to get divorced, you would meet the residency requirement as long as one of you still lived in the state when you filed for a no-fault 1A divorce together.

Are you currently looking for more information on divorce proceedings? Contact us at TE Law Offices today to discuss your case.


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