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What Is Really Meant By ‘Irretrievable Breakdown’?

Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the wrongdoing of one spouse is not responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Without having to prove specific wrongdoing, this means a couple looking to divorce must indicate that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage — that they can simply no longer live together as spouses. 

Some states refer to the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage as an acknowledgment that the couple had “irreconcilable differences,” a term you’re probably familiar with from celebrity divorce announcements. The two terms mean essentially the same thing, but they’re also somewhat vague shorthand for what might really be causing the marriage to collapse. 

A court will not stop a person from getting divorced and will not require the parties to lay out the reasons they are getting divorced. In Minnesota, your divorce decree simply must state that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship. 

There are a myriad of reasons why marriages fail. Financial problems can lead to trouble in a marriage, and very different approaches to handling money may be irreconcilable. If the couple has children, wildly divergent approaches to raising their kids can play a large role in marital trouble, especially if the differences in approach are extreme and the spouses actively disapprove of each other’s parenting styles. Even religious, cultural or social group allegiance can come between spouses, and these differences can also affect their approach to raising children. 

Each of these factors, or a combination of them, may be understandable reasons for a couple to seek a divorce. If you have questions about or need sound guidance on Minnesota divorce law, meet with the skilled St. Paul attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart.

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