In Massachusetts, there are a number of different types of divorce you and your spouse may choose from. You do not necessarily have to take your case to court for a battle that publicly airs all the grievances you have with your spouse, although you may if that is the best course for your circumstances.

Here are your basic divorce options.

  1. No-fault

There are actually two kinds of no-fault divorce. In either situation, you and your spouse can agree on one thing: The marriage is irretrievably broken. You may feel, deep down, that your spouse’s behaviors have been unacceptable, and that is what broke the relationship. However, officially, neither of you are placing blame on the other.

  • 1A divorce: This is an uncontested divorce. You and your spouse sit down together and negotiate all the details of your separation. This includes the division of your marital property, spousal support, child custody and visitation, and child support.
  • 1B divorce: This is a contested divorce. You and your spouse cannot agree on all the points listed above, so you agree to allow the court to resolve the issues that you are not able to work out on your own.

If you begin by filing a 1B divorce, but the two of you are eventually able to come to an agreement afterward, you may change to a 1A divorce and avoid the court battle.

  1. Fault

In some circumstances, there is no doubt that one spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. You may not want your spouse to simply walk away from the relationship that he or she destroyed. For example, you may file for divorce because of adultery, desertion, substance abuse, or cruel and abusive treatment. You may also file because your spouse has received a prison sentence for at least five years, because your spouse is impotent or due to a lack of support.

Keep in mind that it is generally more expensive and time-consuming to file a fault divorce, and you will need to prove to the court that your spouse is truly at fault.