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Can a Judge Order Us to Stay Together?

We often get calls here at Infinity Law Group asking whether a judge can order a couple to remain together, go to marriage counseling, or otherwise reconcile.  These calls most often come in from members of our community who have immigrated to Boston from countries where such orders from a judge are commonplace.  Filing for divorce is a difficult and scary process, and often, speaking to one’s spouse about the desire for divorce comes with risk.  Within that context, it’s natural to worry about being required to try and work things out when one is already at his or her wit’s end.

The most common point of reference we hear is from those who have immigrated to the Greater Boston Area from India.  In India, one can answer a complaint for divorce with something called an action for reconciliation.  In such a case, a judge can order a couple to reconcile and dismiss a complaint for divorce.  In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there is no such action.  

As has been mentioned in other posts on this blog, the outcome of either party seeking a divorce will ultimately be a divorce.  You may be able to drag the process out or get a complaint dismissed on a technicality, but ultimately, a person who wants to divorce does not need his/her spouse’s permission or cooperation in order to terminate a marriage.  A judge will not order people seeking a divorce to see a marriage counselor, to continue to live together (and can, under certain circumstances, order one person or the other to move out of the home), or reconcile.

If you are seeking a divorce in Massachusetts and would like a better understanding of your rights and obligations to your spouse, call today for a free phone consultation.