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Worcester County Divorce Attorneys

Massachusetts Lawyers Also Serving Clients Assistance Throughout Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan AreA 

Divorce is almost always stressful, or at least parts of it can be for most of us. So many emotions and memories are involved that it can be hard to step back and be objective during this process. If there are children involved, these emotions are intensified. 

The divorce process doesn’t have to be as stress-inducing as one would think. There are Worcester divorce lawyers who are highly trained to walk you through the process and ensure you can confidently move through this chapter of your life and onto the next one.

O’Connor Family Law has years of family law experience helping people like you, who may wonder what their next steps are, what options are available, or how to move forward.

Regardless of where you are in the divorce process, with many cases and families in our history, you can be sure our law firm serving Worcester has what it takes to meet you where you are and help you through the following steps.

Some people choose to navigate this whole process alone. Many have learned that the help of a trusted Worcester County family law attorney can help ease their stress and help them feel whole again.

Contact our law firm today at (774) 315-4220 to have your specific questions answered and learn how our attorneys can help you along your path in this divorce process serving Worcester County, Massachusetts!

Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts

There are various types of divorce that can be filed in the state of Massachusetts. One of them is a no-fault divorce, and the other is a fault divorce, both of which can be contested or uncontested case

Our attorneys in Worcester County will dive into the specifics of each in the paragraphs below.

No-fault divorce is categorized in two ways, often called “1A” and “1B.”

“1A” refers to the situation in which both parties agree that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and they have reached a written agreement, outlining things like parenting time, child custody, child support, alimony (when necessary), and the division of marital assets

This category is uncontested as each of the parties agrees on the terms. 

“1B” refers to when one or both of the parties agrees to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage but can’t agree on things such as child custody, child support, or division of marital assets. This results in a contested no-fault divorce case

If both parties are able to come to an agreement on the above items, you can file a request to change from a “1B” to a “1A” filing of no-fault divorce.

A fault divorce is filed when one of the parties blames the other for the demise of the relationship. There are seven categories in which the party can place the blame in, and the burden of proof of these faults committed by their spouse lies on them to prove in the courts. 

They are:

  • Adultery
  • Impotency
  • Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication caused by voluntary and excessive use of intoxicating liquor, opium, or other drugs
  • Non-Support- when a spouse who is sufficiently able to support their spouse but grossly or cruelly refuses or neglects to provide suitable support
  • Desertion continued for one year prior to filing
  • Confinement for crime- if either party is sentenced to life or 5 or more years in a federal institution in MA or any other state
  • Cruel and Abusive treatment

Remember, the burden of proof falls on the person asking for the divorce case. Some proof can seem straightforward, and in other situations, it may be less obvious. Fault divorces can take more time and money than no-fault divorces in order to fulfill your obligation to prove fault. 

There are additional steps like conducting interviews and gathering evidence, which can take extended amounts of time and skill to complete. This is why a fault divorce is less common than a no-fault divorce. 

If a fault divorce is right for you, however, this is something that our attorneys serving Worcester can not only help you to determine but can help you take the necessary steps forward in preparing you for a fault divorce filing.

Do You Need a Separation Agreement Before Divorce in Massachusetts?

Unlike other states, Massachusetts has no legal separation, so you don’t need court permission to live apart from your spouse. 

Here is what is referred to as separate support, which involves filing to get support for yourself and your family

A spouse can file for individual support if, for example, you’re married. Your spouse has failed to support you, you and your spouse are living separately for “justifiable cause” (which can include things like abuse, desertion, and adultery), you and your spouse are living together but have “justifiable cause” to live apart, or if your spouse has deserted you. 

Separate support is not divorce but can be an option to inhibit your spouse’s ability to continue to limit your freedom and allow for financial support for you and your children.

How Long Do You Need to Be Separated Before Divorce in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, you do not need to be separated before filing for divorce. You can file if you have been married for at least one year, and you and your spouse have lived in MA for at least 180 days. 

However, if you and your spouse have been separated for at least 18 months, you can file for a no-fault divorce. 

A no-fault divorce is a divorce that is granted because the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This means that the marriage cannot be saved and that the spouses can no longer live together as husband and wife.

As no two situations are the same, neither are the needs of each family nor the steps necessary to move forward in this legal process in Worcester County. 

Years of experience in law dealing with unique situations have allowed O’Connor Law Firm to be a great choice in helping you through the above scenarios.

What About Divorce Mediation?  

Mediation is another option that many couples will consider, as it has several appealing qualities. Divorce inevitably brings up several issues that are sensitive in nature, emotionally charged, and complex. Entering into a mediation process can allow for a less formal approach. Mediation is also a more private way to start the process of agreement before moving forward, without doing so in a public courtroom. The sessions are confidential and voluntary and allow the control over the result to remain between you and your spouse, rather than leaving it for the courts to determine. Mediation can also cost less in the long run, as it allows you to have some agreements set in place before moving forward, saving you time and costs in the courtroom.

Mediation begins with introductions, at which time the facilitator (both trained and neutral) introduces themselves and their role in the process, as well as the rules and guidelines necessary for a productive session. At this time, both spouses are able to introduce themselves and give their opinions on each of the topics at hand, as well as state their preferred outcome. A mediation contract and confidentiality agreement are signed by the parties at this time as well.

    "O'Connor Family Law and specifically Lydia Field were amazing throughout my entire divorce process. Lydia was so knowledgeable, responsive, and helpful as we worked through the mountains of paperwork."

    - Sarah M.

    "I am so happy with the services Attorney Khan provided, she came in at the last minute after a previous attorney did not fulfil his duties and she found errors he had made, worked all weekend on a rush to finalize my divorce."

    - Courtney O.

    "LaKeshia Parker Smalls and her team were so wonderful throughout my divorce process. I spoke with a few other lawyers before hiring her who made me feel like a burden with all the questions I needed answers to."

    - Jessica C.

    "Sasha Khan worked with me for 10 months on a child custody modification. She had a difficult case with the opposing party, but was very professional and driven to defend me and give advice through a very difficult time in my life."

    - Shannon W.

How Long Will My Divorce Take in Massachusetts?  

Each situation is unique, and so are the steps involved in the divorce process. There isn’t necessarily a clear-cut answer as to how long a divorce will take to complete, but there are some general estimations of the time it takes to finalize the legal process. Filing a fault divorce can generally take longer based on the additional steps discussed above and the time that each of them can take. If a party is contesting certain aspects of the divorce, this takes additional time as well. Also, take into consideration the timeliness of court dates and how backlogged they may be, the time necessary to wait until the next phase, and other possible delays. In general, expecting anywhere from seven or eight months to longer than one year to complete the legal process can be realistic.

Having trusted legal representation to assist you in this process can allow for a shorter timeline, as your legal team will have years of family law experience knowing what can slow the process and how to avoid those issues.

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