Sometimes, despite best intentions, your spouse may fail to live up to the responsibilities in a marriage. If these failings are severe enough, we understand your desire to pursue a divorce. Fortunately, Massachusetts allows a fault-based dissolution. 

Seeking a fault-based divorce can be a long and involved process requiring proof of your spouse’s deficiencies and court hearings. As you negotiate the terms of the divorce, the judge will take this evidence into consideration regarding custody of your children, alimony payments and property allocation. 

Domestic Violence 

Any domestic abuse is a reason for a fault-based divorce. This is not limited to physical violence — forced sexual intercourse, verbal degradation and threatening behavior all qualify as abusive. 


If one spouse leaves the marital home voluntarily, without the partner’s consent, and without the intention of resuming the relationship, it classifies as utter desertion. After one year, it is a basis for an at-fault divorce. 


Adultery is not only grounds for divorce, but it is also a crime in Massachusetts. The fault could weigh heavily upon the judge’s decisions of property division, child support or alimony. 

Substance Abuse 

If one spouse exhibits voluntary, chronic intoxication, the other spouse may use this as a reason to file for dissolution. It must show as evidence of a substance abuse problem and continue up to the filing date. 


Modern medicine offers a significant number of solutions for long-term infertility, so childless couples with fertility issues generally find some resolution. Nonetheless, impotence is still sometimes used as a basis for divorce. 


When a spouse reports for a prison term of five years or longer, the other spouse may proceed with a divorce. Whether or not the convicted partner serves the entire five years has no bearing on the process. 

Divorce due to a spouse’s inadequacies can be extraordinarily painful due to the emotional impact these behaviors have already had on the marriage. For more information on filing for a fault-based divorce, visit our webpage.