Divorce in Massachusetts

Nicknamed “The Bay State,” Massachusetts legally refers to divorce as Divorce from the Bond of Matrimony.

Filing for divorce in Massachusetts requires the parties to have lived together in the state at some point. If the cause for divorce happened outside the state, but one of you was still a resident of Massachusetts when the cause happened, then divorce may be granted. If you have formerly lived in the state for one year and the cause occurred in the state, a divorce may be granted unless it seems like you moved to Massachusetts for the sole purpose of getting a divorce.1

Massachusetts is both a fault and no-fault divorce state. A no-fault divorce doesn’t blame a spouse for the end of the marriage and the only allowed reason for this in Massachusetts is the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. Fault-based divorce reasons in MA include impotence, adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, prison sentencing for five years or more, habitual intoxication, and neglect.2

Massachusetts is an equitable distribution property state, and marital property acquired during and before the marriage can be subject to division. The court will attempt to divide MA marital property fairly and equitably. The judge will consider factors such as non-monetary contributions and economic misconduct of the parties.3

1Mass. Gen. Laws 208 § 4,5

2Mass. Gen. Laws 208 § 1,2

3Mass. Gen. Laws 208 § 34