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Frequently Asked Questions: Divorce & Family Law

How Do I Start A Divorce?

A divorce proceeding begins with the filing of a Complaint For Divorce in the Probate and Family Court of the appropriate county.  The Complaint For Divorce identifies the parties and any dependent children, sets forth the grounds for the divorce, and also sets forth the relief that is being requested from the court.  Today, nearly all divorce complaints are on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (so-called "no-fault"), although a divorce can be brought on fault grounds as well, such as cruel and abusive treatment, adultery, or desertion.  It should be noted that bringing a divorce complaint on fault grounds does not give the filing party an advantage when it comes to child related matters, property division or alimony, as the court considers the same factors in deciding these matters whether the divorce is brought on fault or no fault grounds.  In fact, even where there is a strong basis for a fault grounds divorce, there are a number of reasons why it may be better to seek the divorce on the basis of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

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