What are Examples of Irreconcilable Differences?

What are Examples of Irreconcilable Differences?

Some examples of irreconcilable differences are:

  1. Serious differences over financial matters
  2. Loss of trust
  3. Growing apart
  4. Lack of intimacy
  5. Different life goals

Irreconcilable differences, the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage, or incompatibility can be cited as valid reasons for a no-fault divorce. As of 2021, there are 19 true no-fault divorce states. However, even the at-fault divorce states do allow spouses to file a no-fault divorce petition.

Here are some examples of irreconcilable differences.

Financial Differences

On average, Americans aged between 24 and 39 years owe $78,396 in debt. Those between 40 and 55 owe $135,841, while those between 56 and 74 owe $96,984. Debt can run high in many families and any differences on money matters can trigger arguments that can get serious. For example, one spouse may like to save while the other may be a spendthrift, either spouse can have different financial priorities, a spouse may be hiding assets, or one spouse may get irked at repaying the other spouse’s debts.

When financial differences go unchecked, it could take hostility and resentment to the point of no return.

Loss of Trust

Having an extramarital affair, otherwise cheating on the spouse, inflicting emotional betrayals, disrespecting the spouse, hiding important information, making significant decisions without consulting the other spouse, sharing family secrets with outsiders, lying, abusing, and other such behavior can lead to irreparable emotional harm and loss of trust in a marriage.

A disloyal, disrespectful, dishonest, malicious, or cheating spouse is likely to be considered an unreliable, untrustworthy, and negative spouse. When trust walks out of the door, it may never come back. Losing trust in a marriage also falls under irreconcilable differences.

Growing Apart

Prolonged periods of separation caused by unavoidable circumstances, such as work-related travel, both spouses working and leading a very busy professional life, frequent arguments with insensitive and disrespectful statements flying back and forth, etc., may lead to a lack of intimacy and a communication breakdown between the spouses. Couples may start feeling that their marriage is not what it used to be and that things are slowly slipping away. Such feelings can increase the emotional distance between the spouses and lead to a situation wherein they don’t connect or don’t want to connect with each other.

That said, there are periods of “growing apart” and “getting back together” that occur in most marriages because of minor conflicts or ego issues. However, when the problems are serious and unresolved, growing apart can lead to a complete communication breakdown and become an irreconcilable difference.

Lack of Intimacy

Lack of emotional or physical intimacy may also be considered an irreconcilable difference by some spouses. Lack of sex, a sexless marriage, one spouse controlling the sex life, emotional disconnection, lack of trust, etc., can lead to a lack of intimacy and a lack of commitment in a marriage. Some spouses who have been tolerating the issues for too long may start feeling trapped in the marriage, snap all of a sudden, and file for divorce.

Different Life Goals

To illustrate, one spouse may want to start a family while the other spouse may want to delay starting a family so that he/she can focus on his/her career. One spouse may want to resurrect his/her career (or perhaps start a business) at a later stage in life because the home feels like an empty nest once the kids move out and he/she has plenty of free time, while the other spouse may be against it. Likewise, a spouse who has sacrificed everything for the family may feel it is time to move on. And so on.

When spouses cannot agree or reconcile their life goals, it may be regarded as an irreconcilable difference.

Most spouses who have decided to divorce typically file a no-fault divorce petition. Though divorce is tragic and painful, a no-fault divorce, in which a spouse can state that the marriage is no longer working because of irreconcilable differences, or that the marriage cannot be resurrected, or that the spouses are incompatible, can help spouses who have grown apart or are hostile to each other find a simple and affordable exit.

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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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