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What Does Irreconcilable Differences Mean?

 Posted on April 01, 2017 in Divorce

In January 2016, Illinois moved to a purely no-fault state for divorce. This meant instead of having fault-based grounds for divorce, such as adultery or cruelty, now all divorces are granted based on irreconcilable differences. Since this legal term will mean a great deal to you if you are looking to divorce your spouse, it is important to understand what it means and how it will affect the dissolution of your marriage. For more information, contact the DuPage County divorce lawyers from Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C..

Defining Irreconcilable Differences

According to 750 ILCS 5/401(a), “irreconcilable differences” means that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court finds that attempts at reconciling failed and any future attempts would be impracticable and not in the family’s best interests. Basically, two spouses have come so far that there is no chance of fixing their problems or returning to a happy, healthy relationship. It is within each person’s and the family’s best interest for the marriage to be terminated.

What Irreconcilable Differences Look like in Real Life

Issues that often lead to irreconcilable differences for spouses include disagreements about:

  • How to spend and save money
  • How to get out of a financially difficult situation, such as credit card debt or foreclosure
  • Where to live
  • Whether or not to have children
  • How to raise or discipline the children
  • How to handle the stress of raising a child with challenges or a disability
  • Different expectations and needs in regard to intimacy and sex
  • Intimate or sexual relationships outside of the marriage
  • How to handle relationships or disagreements with in-laws and extended family
  • Work-life balance
  • The distribution of household chores
  • Politics
  • Religion

A breakdown in communication regarding these issues can turn molehills into insurmountable mountains. Many of these issues can be dealt with through honest and kind communication, which is why some spouses benefit from counseling. However, when spouses disagree on some of these issues, there is no way for the marriage to move forward. For example, if one individual wants a large family and the other spouse does not want any kids, it is impossible for each spouse to remain happy in the marriage in the long run.

Proving Irreconcilable Differences in Court

If both spouses agree that there are irreconcilable differences, the court will not look any further. The court takes adults at their word and will move forward with the divorce based on this fact. However, if one spouse contests the divorce, then the court will look at the duration of the spouse’s separation, if there is one, and any failed attempts at solving their problems to determine if irreconcilable differences exist. Under 750 ILCS 5/401(a-5), when spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous six months or more before the divorce is finalized, there is an irrebuttable presumption that irreconcilable differences exist. The contesting spouse cannot prove that the requirement of irreconcilable differences is not met. It is important to note that living separate and apart does not actually require one adult to move out of the shared home.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer for Help Today

If you believe it is best for you and your spouse to get a divorce, then contact Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060. An experienced attorney can explain obtaining a no-fault divorce in Illinois and how to satisfy the six month separation requirement.

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