Lynch & Owens Divorce Series: Step 4 – What Issues Are Decided in a Divorce?

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Lynch & Owens Divorce Series: Step 4 – What Issues Are Decided in a Divorce?

Divorce Series

Massachusetts divorce lawyer Josey Lyne Payne reviews the issues decided in a Massachusetts divorce case.

In this edition of the Lynch & Owens Divorce Series, I will discuss the main issues that a Probate and Family Court judge will address in a Massachusetts divorce. Initially the Court must determine the “grounds” for a divorce.  Grounds are the legal reason(s) why the marriage has failed and thus the marriage is eligible to be legally dissolved.  In Massachusetts, there are seven fault grounds (where the Court finds that a marriage has failed due to the fault of one of the parties), and a no-fault ground (where the Court finds that the marriage has failed, but not due to any fault by either party) – grounds will be explored in later posts in the series. Since the advent of no-fault divorce roughly 40 years ago, the use of “at fault” grounds in divorce actions has become heavily disfavored by judges, attorneys and litigants.

Aside from the grounds being decided, there are several other issues that must be decided before a judgment of divorce can occur. Some of these issues are:

These issues may be resolved and agreed upon by and between the parties themselves and then incorporated into the Divorce Judgment, or if the parties fail to agree on any or all of the issues, the Court will decide the issues in dispute after a trial in which the parties have an opportunity to present evidence to support the judge’s decision. (Notably, more than 95% of cases end in settlement rather than through trial.)

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Getting a divorce is often a relief for unhappy spouses.

Make no mistake, the issues that must be decided are complex and hiring independent counsel is advisable. Every situation is different, just as every family is different. A party may hire a lawyer to assist and advise them both with the divorce itself and with mediation, if the parties decide to mediate their divorce. It is important to understand that a mediator is a neutral body that facilitates the conversation(s) between the parties. A mediator, who may be an attorney, is not your attorney and cannot legally advise you. They may discuss the law with you during the mediation process in an educational or general information way, but they are not advocating for or representing your interests. To protect  your interests you should consult a lawyer independently.

For additional installments of the Lynch & Owens Massachusetts Divorce Series, please visit the main series page.

About the Author: Josey Lyne Payne is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer and Massachusetts family law attorney for Lynch & Owens, located in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Schedule a free consultation with Josey Lyne Payne today at (781) 741-5000 or send her an email:

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. You are invited to contact our office. Contacting the office does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to the office until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. This blog is considered an advertisement for The Law Office of Lynch & Owens, P.C. The Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct broadly govern all advertisements and communications made by attorneys and law firms in the Commonwealth. Generally, legal websites and any other content published on the internet by lawyers are considered a type of communication and an advertisement, according to the Comments to Rule 7.2.

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By | 2017-03-28T04:37:19+00:00 September 2nd, 2015|Categories: Divorce, Family Law, Updates|Tags: , |Comments Off on Lynch & Owens Divorce Series: Step 4 – What Issues Are Decided in a Divorce?

About the Author:

Josey Lyne Payne is a Senior Associate at Lynch & Owens, and is a frequent contributor to the Lynch & Owens Blog on subjects including Massachusetts divorce, child custody and support, domestic violence, equity and estates litigation, and complex financial probate and family litigation. Attorney Payne can be reached by phone at (781) 741-5000 or email at [email protected], or visit her bio page at