The following is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be comprehensive or to be interpreted as legal advice. It also shall not be interpreted in such a manner as to form an attorney-client relationship. For such advice, consult an experienced Family Law attorney.
The grounds of nonsupport are almost never utilized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts primarily because the burden upon the plaintiff is extremely difficult. He or she must prove that the neglect to provide suitable support by the defendant was gross or wanton and cruel, and that the defendant was of sufficient ability to pay support for the spouse. Keenan v. Keenan, 219 Mass. 107, 109, 106 N.E. 568 (1914).
The plaintiff must also show that his or her earnings or income were sufficiently lacking as to create a duty by the other spouse to pay support. He or she must show that such cruelty "shall cause injury to life, limb or health, or create a danger of such injury or a reasonable apprehension of such danger upon the parties continuing to live together." Bailey v. Bailey, 97 Mass. 373, 380-81
Therefore, if one was intrepid enough to file a divorce case asserting the grounds of nonsupport, it would be extremely wise to plead an irretrievable breakdown as an alternate grounds upon which the divorce could be granted.