Do I File A Fault Or No Fault Divorce?

April 29, 2022 O'Connor Family Law Latest News

Divorce in Massachusetts can either be filed as a fault or no-fault divorce, both of which can be contested or uncontested. Which one is right for you? Although most file a no-fault divorce, meaning that neither party specifically blames the other for the ending of the marriage, there is also the fault divorce filing option, meaning that one person is considered at fault for causing the marriage to end. Read further to learn the differences between the two, how our law firm can help you decide which is best for you, and how to proceed. It can be hard to overlook the personal emotions existing with a divorce, pushing some to immediately think of filing a fault divorce, but the vast majority of cases in Massachusetts are actually filed as no-fault.


No-fault divorce is just as it sounds: neither of the parties blames the other or places them at fault for ending the marriage. This can be contested or uncontested. Contested means that both parties agree to an irretrievable breakdown but do not agree on child custody, alimony, child support, or property division. Uncontested means both parties agree that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that they have reached a written agreement about parenting time, child support, child custody, alimony, and property division.


When filing for a fault divorce, the spouse initiating the divorce must prove specific grounds or reasons for the divorce. There are seven grounds for fault divorce filing. They are; adultery, desertion for a minimum of one year, impotency, cruel and abusive treatment, non-support, gross and confirmed habits of intoxication, and a prison sentence of 5 or more years. The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff in these cases. Showing the reasoning for the faulty divorce filing and proving some of these grounds can be a daunting task in itself. This also does not ensure that alimony or child support resulting from a fault divorce will be in favor of the plaintiff. Hence, most divorces are filed as no-fault. Although there are some cases in which fault divorce is the best option, it can add to your workload and patience level as it requires more in-depth information to prove fault. O’Connor Family Law has had extensive experience working with both fault and no-fault divorce, and we are happy to help you to sort out which route you’d like to take.

The grounds for a fault divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication
  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • Non-support
  • Impotency
  • A prison sentence of 5 or more years  


Divorce isn’t easy or fun, but there are ways to handle the process with compassion to help you transition to the next chapter of your life. Let us handle things in a respectful manner and with the compassion that these situations deserve. We have worked with many clients over the years that are likely where you are today, and we have provided them with the support that is needed during these trying times. We look forward to hearing from you and getting this process started out in the right way. Contact our office today at 774-703-3755.