Family Law

Grounds for Divorce: Irreconcilable Differences

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People disagree over all sorts of things, from religion to politics, and it leads to discussions and debates. For married couples, strong disagreements, or irreconcilable differences make it impossible to live together and may be grounds for a divorce.

What are "Irreconcilable Differences?"

In most states, a spouse may get a no-fault divorce based on a breakdown of the marriage. Some states refer to this breakdown of a marriage as "irreconcilable differences." It means you and your spouse can't agree on basic, fundamental issues involving the marriage or your family, and you never will agree.

When you and your spouses completely fail to agree on how to raise your children, such as differences of opinions on discipline and religious issues some common sources of irreconcilable differences. No matter the reason, the differences must be so strong that it's clear to a judge that there's no chance the marriage can be saved.

You Can't Live Together. Period

When a divorce is based on irreconcilable differences, any wrong doing by the one spouse or the other doesn't matter. It's simply a statement by both spouses that marriage won't work any longer.

You don't need to prove that your spouse was to blame for the failure of your marriage to get a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences. A court may grant you a divorce if it finds that you and your spouse can no longer live together due to your irreconcilable differences.

Irreconcilable Differences Factors

Factors courts look at in determining a marriage breakdown or irreconcilable differences may include the following:

  • Conflict of personality
  • Whether there is mutual concern for the emotional needs of each other
  • Whether the marriage is suffers from financial difficulties
  • Long physical separation
  • Difference of interests
  • Resentment
  • Distrust
  • Constant bickering
  • Irreversible antagonistic feelings

There's really no cut-and-dry list of things that may lead to irreconcilable differences.

You Both Have To Agree on Some Things

In most states, despite your irreconcilable differences, you and your spouse have to agree or "consent," in writing, that the marriage can't be saved because of your differences in opinion. You or your spouse will have to find another way to get your divorce if either one of you doesn't agree on irreconcilable differences.

On top of that, you both usually have to come to agreements on dividing property, and if you have children, a parenting plan setting out the details of child custody, support and visitation.

You and your spouse can handle your own divorce if you truly agree that you can't get along anymore and the marriage is over. But it's still a good idea to talk to a divorce attorney.An attorney can make sure your paper work is done properly, as well as explain the available grounds for divorce in your state and the legal consequences of your divorce.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • I agreed to a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, but I've changed my mind. What can I do now?
  • What are my options if my spouse won't agree to divorce based on irreconcilable differences?
  • How long will my divorce take?
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