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Basics of the Massachusetts divorce process

For couples in Quincy, the decision to divorce is not one to be taken lightly. This is especially true when there are numerous assets at stake and children involved. Those who decide that they are no longer able to continue with the marriage must take care to follow the law and take the proper steps to move forward with ending the marriage.

Regardless of the reason for the divorce, it's important to understand the basic facts of how to get the process started. There are two categories when it comes to divorce: fault and no-fault. The spouse who has been served with divorce papers has the right to contest the filing or not to contest it. If the decree is contested, the spouse does not agree with the divorce's terms. Frequently, if there is a dispute over marital property and asset division - an issue that will arise if there are significant assets at stake - the divorce will be contested.

No fault is the easiest way to get the divorce done as quickly and painlessly as possible. This doesn't assign blame to either party and is called "Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage" in the state. With a fault divorce, there are seven grounds that can be referenced. They range from abuse, adultery and if one spouse has been imprisoned for at least five years. With marriages that involve couples battling over assets from the marriage, a fault divorce is likely since property issues often consume much of the negotiations.

With a no-fault divorce, the couple has the options of 1A or 1B under state law. For a 1A divorce, it is a relatively simple process in which the spouses have agreed that the marriage is broken and also agree on every aspect of the divorce, from asset division, marital property, what will happen to the children and other issues. For 1B, it is more complicated. The spouses might or might not agree on the marriage being broken down. In addition, the above-listed issues could be in dispute. In certain cases, couples are able to hammer out their differences and change the filing from 1B to 1A.

Source: Mass.gov, "Divorce," Accessed Aug. 12, 2014

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