Section 1, 1A, and 1B Divorce in Massachusetts

There are different types of divorce complaints in Massachusetts.  You can file on fault grounds, such as adultery, impotency, desertion for one year or more, or cruel and abusive treatment to name a few.  This is called a Section 1 divorce.  Although many clients are emotionally motivated to file on fault grounds, you should speak to your attorney about whether or not there is a productive purpose for filing on fault grounds.  It is possible that filing on fault grounds may only complicate your divorce.

If you and your spouse have already reached a Separation Agreement, you may want to file a Section 1A complaint for divorce.  After filing a 1A divorce, a hearing date will be set earlier than six months from the date of filing.  At the hearing, the judge will review your Separation Agreement and ask a number of questions.  If the judge enters the divorce order, the divorce will not become final until a period of time passes after the hearing date.  This is a speedier route of divorce than the others.

If you and your spoke have not reached an agreement and are choosing a “no-fault” basis for divorce, you will file a Section 1B complaint for divorce.  This is the most common type of divorce filed in Massachusetts.  The court will schedule a hearing on the Section 1B complaint no earlier than six months after you file it.  During these six months, you and your attorney will negotiate with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney to reach a Separation Agreement.  If you and your spouse reach a Separation Agreement within the six month period, you can file a motion to amend to a Section 1A complaint and request an immediate hearing on your joint petition.