Many couples choose to take a period of separation where they are living apart before officially filing for a divorce. If this is the case for you and your spouse, you may be curious as to whether or not living apart qualifies as grounds for a divorce in Massachusetts. Here’s what you should know about grounds for divorce in our state and whether living apart can help your case

Grounds for Divorce in Massachusetts

There are both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce in Massachusetts. If you are seeking a fault-based divorce, you can file for divorce based on:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication
  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • Non-support
  • Impotency
  • Prison sentence of more than five years

While filing for a divorce on fault-based grounds is a possibility, most people choose to file for a divorce on no-fault grounds. This is, in part, because getting a fault-based divorce can be more expensive and time-consuming than a no-fault divorce.

If a person chooses to file for a no-fault divorce, they can file for divorce based on the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. A no-fault divorce can be contested or uncontested.

Living Apart As Grounds for Divorce in MA

While you and your spouse may be living apart before you file for divorce, this will have no bearing on the grounds for divorce unless one of you is claiming desertion. However, living apart before your divorce could help you and your spouse decide definitively that you do indeed want to dissolve your marriage. It may also help you to address some of the logistics of divorce early on—such as who will live where and where any children of the marriage will stay. 

Living Apart and Separate Support

While living apart is not a grounds for divorce in Massachusetts, it may be relevant if you are pursuing a separate support lawsuit. A separate support case is a lawsuit to seek financial support for you and your children when you and your spouse are still legally married; there is no official procedure for legal separation in Massachusetts. You have grounds to seek separate support if you and your spouse are living separately for a justifiable cause, which might include things like abuse, desertion, or adultery. 

Get Help from a Skilled Divorce Lawyer

To learn more about the divorce process, grounds for divorce, living separately from your spouse before your divorce is finalized, and more, reach out to our skilled Massachusetts divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Heather M. Ward. Attorney Heather Ward has years of experience representing individuals and families throughout the divorce process. Call (617) 903-8955 today or send us a message online to get started.