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  • Writer's pictureSummers Family Law

Irretrievable Breakdown and No-Fault Divorce in Massachusetts: A Constitutional Challenge

As a divorce attorney in Massachusetts, I closely follow important court decisions that impact my clients and those considering divorce in the state. A recent Massachusetts Appeals Court case, M.M.D. v. M.E.D. (23-P-1107), caught my attention as it involved a constitutional challenge to our state's no-fault divorce law.


The Case: M.M.D. v. M.E.D.


In this case, a husband appealed a judgment of divorce granted under Massachusetts' no-fault divorce statute, claiming that the "irretrievable breakdown" provision violates both the First Amendment and the contracts clause of the U.S. Constitution. The wife had filed for divorce in October 2020, stating that the marriage suffered an irretrievable breakdown as of February 2020. The husband denied this in his answer and motion to dismiss.


The Court's Decision


The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the Probate and Family Court's judgment of divorce, rejecting the husband's constitutional challenges. The court emphasized that the legislative intent behind the no-fault divorce statute is to allow parties to make personal and subjective decisions about marriage and divorce without overwhelming state control.

The court also noted that the statute has safeguards to prevent Massachusetts from becoming a "divorce mill," such as residency requirements and a six-month waiting period. Furthermore, the court clarified that the contracts clause does not apply to marriage contracts, and state legislatures have the authority to grant divorce decrees.


What This Means for You


If you're considering divorce or are in the midst of one, this decision reinforces the validity of Massachusetts' no-fault divorce law. It means that you can file for divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, even if your spouse disagrees.


However, it's important to understand that while the decision to divorce may be subjective, the process still involves legal requirements and safeguards. As a divorce attorney, I can guide you through these requirements, help you understand your rights, and work towards a fair resolution of your case.


The Importance of Legal Counsel


Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, even under a no-fault system. Having an experienced divorce attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case and your ability to move forward with your life.

If you're considering divorce or have questions about your rights and options, I encourage you to reach out to a qualified divorce attorney in Massachusetts. We're here to help you navigate this difficult time and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.


Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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