Massachusetts Divorce Law

Complete Overview of of the Massachusetts Divorce Laws

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Important Massachusetts Divorce Guidelines to File for a Divorce

Massachusetts Residency Requirements For Divorce

To file Massachusetts divorce papers, the petitioner must be a Massachusetts resident for at least one year, unless the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts. Otherwise there is no minimum residency requirement.

Grounds For Divorce In Massachusetts

The no-fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts is:

  • irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

The following are some of the fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts:

  • adultery;
  • impotence;
  • imprisonment for over five years;
  • alcoholism/substance abuse;
  • willful desertion for one year.
Massachusetts Child Custody

When the Massachusetts courts rule on child custody, they will consider the happiness and welfare of the child, and whether or not the child’s present or past living conditions adversely affect his or her physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.

Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

Unless special circumstances are present, the courts calculate child support based on the official child support guidelines. Child support will continue until the child reaches adulthood, and may be extended through his or her secondary education.


Massachusetts divorce forms may be filed in either the petitioners county of residence, or the respondent’s county of residence.


Prior to or during the divorce proceedings, the parties may submit any or all issues to mediation so they may proceed in court on an uncontested basis. Also, in cases of “irreconcilable differences,” the courts may order a family to marriage or family counseling.