Martino Law Group, LLC
By: Martino Law Group, LLC

Uncontested Divorce Lawyers in Massachusetts


Effective Representation In Family Law Courts In Middlesex County, Essex County, Massachusetts, And Southern New Hampshire

Many married couples come to their decision about divorce in an amicable way. It is not uncommon for couples to start talking about it months or even years before one of the parties actually files. If this is the case for you and your spouse, you may have already sat down together to discuss issues about custody, parenting schedules, who will keep the house and other issues related to property and spousal support. This is commonly referred to as an ‘uncontested’ or ‘amicable’ divorce.

It comes as a surprise to many people, though, when a minor legal details throws a wrench into the works. In some cases, the courts simply will not accept the amicable agreement because of legal barriers. It also frequently happens that the settlement worked out at the kitchen table overlooks some unexpected concerns about issues such as tax consequences, objections by business partners and even objections from teenage kids in the household.

Why both parties should hire a lawyer, even if there are no unresolved disputes.
Hiring a lawyer to help you with your amicable or uncontested divorce settlement doesn’t mean you are picking a fight. It means you want to make sure everything goes smoothly. An experienced attorney will know whether the courts will accept the proposed settlement, while making sure you understand the future consequences of the settlement.

No matter how uncontested your divorce is, it makes sense to bring your proposed agreement to an experienced lawyer. Martino Law Group has been helping divorcing spouses reach amicable agreements in Middlesex County and Essex County, Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire for years. We will explain the process for working up a settlement and help you with every detail.

Low Fees For Filing Your Paperwork — We Will Ease You Through The Process

While we are experienced trial lawyers, we know that litigation should be a last resort to resolve complex issues, not the first option. If you truly have an uncontested, amicable agreement in hand, you won’t have to worry about our lawyers jacking up emotional stakes. We offer flat fees for many services to handle the paperwork and legal details for you.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces in Massachusetts

If you’re getting a divorce in Massachusetts, the process can vary based on whether it’s contested or uncontested. Both options require court involvement, but one is more complex and time consuming than the other. Here are a few things that you should know about contested vs. uncontested divorces in Massachusetts.

Difference between Contested and Uncontested Divorces

An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses agree to the divorce and all of the terms of the divorce. The divorce is basically amicable. There are no disputes on marital assets, child custody, alimony, child support, etc. If even one item is up for dispute, then the divorce becomes contested. In contested divorces, the parties will be asking a judge to make a decision on items that the parties cannot agree on themselves.

Judicial Process for Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces in Massachusetts

Uncontested divorces follow a fairly simple process. Paperwork is filed with the courts. A hearing will take place, during which a judge will review those documents. A judgement is entered and the divorce becomes final a certain number of days after that hearing.

As expected, contested divorces are much more complex. Typically, one spouse files a complaint with the courts. The other is then given an opportunity to respond to that complaint. Parties will request and provide information to the one another during a discovery process. Pre-trial hearings often take place.

A mediator may become involved to assist parties with coming to an agreement (to avoid a court hearing). If agreement cannot be achieved, then the case will go to trial. A trial would take place no earlier than 6 months after the original divorce filing. A judge ultimately hears the case and will render a decision based on Massachusetts law and the information provided by both parties.

Deciding How to File

Divorces are never easy, but it’s important to remember that decision making power is initially in the hands of both spouses. If both can compromise on the terms of the divorce, then a judge need not make those decisions for them. However, if both parties dig in their heels, then the ultimate decision will reside with a judge.

A quick divorce is normally only possible when uncontested. Contested divorces will automatically take at least 6 months and require many hours of legal services. Divorcing spouses should keep this in mind when deciding between contested vs. uncontested divorces in Massachusetts.

Fault Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts

When it comes to divorce, couples can file for a no-fault or a fault divorce. Fault means that one person is responsible for the failure of the marriage. This typically lays the groundwork for terms to be negotiated in the divorce agreement. There are 7 different fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts detailed below.

1. Adultery

Adultery is a common reason for divorce. The difficulty, however, is in proving that it actually took place. Often times, one spouse accuses another of cheating but does not have any concrete proof that can be presented in a court of law. Before using adultery as grounds for divorce, it is important for the accuser to gather sufficient evidence. This is the reason why some hire private investigators or perform their own detective work before confronting a cheating spouse.

2. Cruel & Abusive Treatment

Cruel and abusive treatment is another common grounds for divorce. It covers treatment that causes harm, whether emotional or physical. A wide range of behavior can be classified as cruel and abusive. The most obvious would be physical abuse with visible bodily harm. However, behavior such as verbal abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, or even neglect can fall into this category.

3. Desertion

To use desertion as fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts, one must demonstrate that the other spouse left for at least one year and is not planning to return. Additionally, that spouse must have left of his/her own free will (not at your urging) and did not have a good reason to leave. For example, a spouse serving in the armed forces would not be considered a deserter. It’s important to note that there are some special circumstances where desertion may apply even if a spouse has not physically left the home.

4. Substance Abuse

“Excessive” use of alcohol or drugs is also grounds for divorce. Under this category, one must prove that the substance abuse was continual (and not merely a one-time occurrence). Additionally, the substance abuse must be of his/own free will.

5. Impotency

Intimacy is certainly important in a relationship.Sometimes otherwise loving couples may choose not to stay together due to the impotency of one party. Thus, although rare, impotency can be grounds for divorce.

6. Prison Sentences (Confinement)

Confinement can be used as grounds for divorce if one spouse is sentenced to spend 5 or more years in prison. Although there are cases where inmates end up serving less time (for good behavior), this category is based on sentences and not actual time spent in prison.

7. Lack of Support

Lack of support applies to financial support. To use this, one spouse must prove that the other has the ability to support him/her but refuses to do so. Additionally, one must prove that this lack of support causes physical harm (or the potential for physical harm). An example of this is one spouse being sick and the other refusing to pay for medical care.

Assistance with Divorces in Massachusetts

The above provide an overview of the 7 fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts. In many cases, the grounds for divorce argues in a court of law may not be the true reason for divorce. It comes down to what can be proven in a divorce case. Every marriage and personal situation is different. Selecting the proper grounds for divorce may be only one of many difficult decisions to be made in the divorce process. To improve your chances for a desirable divorce outcome, it is important to get proper representation. Please contact us for a free consultation on your impending divorce.