The divorce rate in Massachusetts is under ten percent. That number is low compared to other states in the country. Divorce is sometimes amicable, but horror stories about the dissolution of a marriage are rampant.

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It can get ugly. Emotional pain, financial pain, and if there are children involved, it only gets more complicated.

Massachusetts Is A Fault-Based Divorce State

Some states like California are no-fault divorce only, where "irreconcilable differences" are considered the grounds for divorce. Massachusetts allows fault-based divorces where certain circumstances are considered legit and reasons for legally ending the marriage.

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Allowed Grounds for Fault-Based Divorces in Massachusetts

Due to the difficulty of proving the following grounds for divorce, fault-based divorces are usually more cumbersome and messy, time consuming and expensive, to boot.

  • adultery
  • impotency
  • desertion for one year before the divorce
  • non-support
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • cruelty or abusive treatment, and
  • a prison sentence of five or more years.

Yes, if your spouse is IMPOTENT, that is considered "fault-based" -- an unfortunate and reproductive medical condition that can affect men. Is this cruel or fair game?

Adultery was illegal until 2018 in Massachusetts


Adultery was considered a crime in Massachusetts up until 2018 when the statute was repealed. Prior to its repeal, adultery was a felony offense punishable by up to 3 years in state prison, up to 2 years in jail, or a fine of up to $500. Even before the statute was repealed, it was highly unlikely that any person would face criminal charges for adultery.


Prenuptial agreements can be broken in Massachusetts when certain clauses are violated as well, again, certain grounds can be hard to prove.

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Gallery Credit: Aubrey Jane McClaine

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