AlFor better or for worse, divorce is a part of many people’s lives. According to Statista, the divorce rate in Massachusetts was 1 divorce per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021. While this figure is down from 2.2 divorces in 2009, it shows that divorce is still relatively common. That is why getting the right legal counsel is crucial when navigating divorce issues. 

At Lamb and Lamb, P.C., we know that no two cases are alike. So, we put our decades of experience into building the right case for our clients’ best interests. Our thorough process cuts to the chase when dealing with divorce cases in Salem, Massachusetts, and neighboring areas such as Danvers, Beverly, Lynnfield, and Peabody. We don’t dance around things because we know how valuable our clients’ time is. Contact us today.

Divorce in Massachusetts 

There are two main divorce types in Massachusetts: contested and uncontested divorce. Each requires different ways to confront your divorce 

Contested Divorce 

In Massachusetts, a contested divorce or no-fault (1B) occurs when the spouses cannot agree on one or more of the key issues related to the divorce, such as property division, child custody, child support, and alimony. In a contested divorce, the spouses will need to go to court and have a judge make a decision on these issues. 

In a contested divorce, the parties may negotiate or mediate to resolve the disputed issues. If these methods are unsuccessful, the case will proceed to a trial, where a judge will decide on the contested issues. 

Uncontested Divorce 

An uncontested divorce or no-fault (1A) occurs when both parties agree on all the major issues related to the divorce, such as property division, child custody, child support, and alimony. This situation means that both spouses have reached a settlement agreement on all aspects of the divorce. Although, they do need to go to court it is only for the judge to approve their agreement and enter a judgment of divorce. 

On the whole, uncontested divorces can be less time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining than contested divorces. Nevertheless, getting the right legal counsel is important to help make the agreement is fair to both sides. 

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Eligibility to Divorce in Massachusetts 

In order to qualify for divorce in Massachusetts, the following has to be true: 

  • At least one of the spouses must have lived in Massachusetts for at least one year before filing for divorce. 

  • The marriage must have suffered an “irretrievable breakdown,” meaning there is no chance of reconciliation. 

  • The divorce must be based on one of the following grounds: adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, desertion, drug or alcohol addiction, or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. 

  • If minor children are involved, the spouses no longer are required attend a parenting education program before the divorce can be finalized, however taking such a class can assist your case. 

  • Both spouses must agree on all aspects of the divorce, including property division, child custody, and support, in order to file for an uncontested divorce. 

  • If the divorce is contested, the case may need to go to trial, and a judge will decide on issues the spouses cannot agree on. 

Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts 

The following grounds for divorce in Massachusetts apply: 

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. These grounds mean that the marriage has broken down, and there is no chance of reconciliation. 

  • Adultery. One spouse has engaged in sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse. 

  • Cruel and abusive treatment. One spouse has caused physical or emotional harm to the other spouse, making it unsafe or unhealthy for the couple to continue living together. 

  • Desertion. One spouse has abandoned the other spouse for at least one year without a good reason. 

  • Drug or alcohol addiction. One spouse has a serious addiction to drugs or alcohol, making it difficult for the couple to continue living together. 

Please remember that proving the grounds for divorce is essential to obtaining a divorce if you file for divorce on grounds other than irretrievable breakdown. That is why filing a divorce on grounds other than a no-fault one can be challenging to prove. Getting the right legal counsel from an experienced family attorney is essential in a fault-based divorce. 

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Massachusetts? 

The amount of time it takes to get a divorce in Massachusetts can vary depending on several factors, such as whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, if there was a prenuptial agreement, the complexity of the issues involved, and the court’s schedule. 

On the whole, an uncontested divorce can be finalized in several weeks. In contrast, a contested divorce can take much longer to finalize. Contested divorces can take from a several months to more than a year to finalize. 

Speaking with an experienced family law attorney can greatly help reduce the time it takes to finalize a contested divorce. A professional divorce attorney can help cut down on how long a divorce takes in Massachusetts by getting all the paperwork in order when filing. Additionally, a family law attorney can focus on solving the main points of contention, hopefully avoiding a long, drawn-out see-saw negotiation, significantly cutting down on the financial and emotional toll of the divorce proceedings. 

Divorce Attorneys Serving
Salem, Massachusetts

At Lamb and Lamb, P.C., we understand the value of time. That’s why we don’t waste time beating around the bush. Our thorough process ensures we find the best solution for our clients’ in as little time as possible. Call today to speak with a professional divorce attorney who has your best interest in mind.