What's the difference betwen a fault and no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce is what's known in Massachusetts as an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Fault grounds are adultery, abandonment, imprisonment, and abuse. Fault grounds were traditional in Massachusetts and across the nation. As time passed and the process of divorce got easier, no-fault was provided as a "grounds" for divorce in order to not assign blame. The result of a fault or no-fault divorce is the same - divorce


Why would someone allege adultery as a grounds for divorce?

It is very difficult to prove adultery in a divorce case. You either need to have the 3rd party testify that they cheated, have solid video or photographic evidence that your spouse has cheated, or a baby born out of wedlock. Despite the difficulties of proving adultery, some people feel very strongly that they want to let everyone know that it wasn't their own fault that led to the breakdown of the marriage but instead, it was the fault of their spouse.


Does proving adultery affect property division or alimony?

Yes it might. One of the factors the court uses in determining property division and alimony is the conduct of the parties during the marriage. It is however, only one factor out of a list of over 10 other factors that the court uses.


Does proving adultery affect child custody or child support?

No. Child custody is determined by the best interest of the child and who the primary caretaker of the child was during the marriage. It has nothing to do with the conduct of the parties in regards to each other. Child support is determined by a set formula and is not affected by fault grounds for divorce.