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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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  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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