Your Boston Divorce: The Basics

It has been a long two years for you and your spouse. You had a fairytale start – meeting at a Red Sox game over a shared love of hot dogs and expensive beer. You would talk about Roger Clemens, Ted Williams and the iconic “Green Monster” for hours, barely able to keep your eyes open some nights. You thought you had it all until you learned about all the nasty habits your whirlwind lover possessed (including his secret love for the New York Yankees). Sure, your friends told you not to “jump into it too quickly,” but who are you to listen?

You got married and now you regret that decision. Your Boston love story just turned into a Boston divorce saga. We know this can be an emotional time for you, so here is some general information to help guide you through the process of a divorce in Boston.

Types of divorce available in Massachusetts

When going through the process of a divorce in Boston, you’ll be following Massachusetts family law. This means that you will either file for a “no-fault” or “fault” divorce under the laws of the Commonwealth. Next, you will need to declare if the divorce is agreed upon by both parties, including all the important terms such as child support, parenting time, alimony, child custody, and the division of marital assets. A contested divorce will likely take longer and may require you to appear in family court.

How long do I have to live in Boston (Massachusetts) prior to filing for divorce?

Either spouse must have lived in Massachusetts for at least one year before the divorce is started. You don’t have to live in Boston proper. Anywhere in Massachusetts will suffice. But if you don’t meet the residency requirements, you may have to wait to get a divorce.

Assuming you meet this requirement, you will file the initial divorce forms with the Probate and Family Court Department for Suffolk County.

Do I need “Grounds” for a Boston divorce?

Yes, but that shouldn’t be terribly difficult. Your grounds (reason) for the divorce can fall into a number of different categories as listed below. This is known as a “fault divorce.” This process can be more time-consuming and expensive than a no-fault divorce. Here is your list of options:

  • Adultery;
  • Impotency;
  • Desertion for at least one year;
  • Addiction to drugs/alcohol;
  • Cruel and abusive treatment;
  • Refusal to support spouse when able; or
  • One spouse has been confined to a penal institution for five or more years.

However, most people use “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” or “no-fault divorce.” Simply put, you and your spouse no longer get along and don’t want to be together. It is wise to speak with a divorce lawyer if you have further questions about fault and no-fault divorce.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Boston Divorce: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Boston Divorce

As trying as it can be to go through a divorce in Boston, the reality is that you are not alone. With the high divorce rate in this country, marriage simply isn’t for life anymore. While you are grappling with this reality, you don’t have to also grapple with understanding the law. Let an experienced Massachusetts divorce attorney help you – many are located right in Boston. Start the process today by finding an experienced Boston divorce attorney near you.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.