MASSACHUSETTS DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: There is no waiting period if either party is a bona fide resident, and the reason for the divorce occurred in Massachusetts. Otherwise, there is a one year residency requirement.
No Fault: The irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Fault: Adultery; Impotency; Desertion for one year prior to the filing of the complaint; Habitual drunkenness: Drug addiction; Cruel and abusive treatment; Or, if a spouse being of sufficient ability, grossly or wantonly and cruelly refuses or neglects to provide suitable support and maintenance.
Property Division: Massachusetts is an equitable distribution “hotchpot” state. This means the court can divide any and all property owned by the parties, however and whenever acquired, in an “equitable” manner, i.e., fairly as the circumstances dictate. The court can consider the causes of the dissolution, the length of the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, needs of each party, opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets and income, and contribution of each party to the marital and separate estates (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce ).
Alimony: Massachusetts courts can award rehabilitative alimony (that is, get-back-into-the-work-force alimony) or permanent alimony. Factors in awarding alimony include:
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- The homemaker’s contributions
- The employability of each party
- The needs of each party
- The opportunity for the future acquisition of capital assets and income.
Child Custody and Child Support: As in all states, the court awards child custody based on “the best interests of the child.” The parties must submit a parenting plan if they want shared custody, and the court may reject the plan and award sole custody to one parent (click the following for an expert's overview and list of articles on child custody and child support).
Massachusetts child-support guidelines use a “hybrid” formula like the District of Columbia. Support is calculated on the gross income of the noncustodial parent, but then offset by a percentage of income of the custodial parent over a certain floor.
Because child support is figured by income, parenting time, and self-support reserves, there are no fixed percentages.
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue supplies an on-line calculator to help figure child support.
Support for education of the child continues through age 21.
Disclaimer: The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.