Can I get a divorce if I’ve married for less than a year?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I get a divorce if I’ve married for less than a year?

I am in a horrible marriage and would like a divorce. We have been married for a little over 6 months. A lot of what I see online states that I must remain married to this individual for 1 year before I can file for divorce. Is this correct? I would really not like to have to spend the next 6 months with this person and this is one of the main things keeping me from being able to move out. Additionally, would we need to file a separation agreement? We live in an apartment, have no shared financial accounts and no children.

Asked on April 18, 2019 under Family Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You have to wait a year if the grounds, or reason, for the divorce occured outside Massachusetts--that is, you need to be in MA for at least a year if the reason you are divorcing occurred elsewhere (this is to make sure people don't come to MA just to get a divorce). But if the reason for the divorce occured in MA, you don't have to wait.
You can get a divorce without any "fault" or bad behavior, just because the marriage has "irretrievably broken down" (does not work and will not work), but in that case, it takes at least 6 months (generally longer) after you file the divorce case to get a hearing or trial date--it's the slower track to divorce. If you file for "fault"-based divorce (e.g. your spouse refusing to support you; your spouse committing adultry; drug use or alcoholism; cruel and abusive behavior), you may be able to get a hearing in several weeks.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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