Irreconcilable Difference between Spouses: The Divorce Law

Sarah Home, Lifestyle

When you approach the court to file for a divorce, you would need the “Complaint about Divorce” document. In the document, you must list the latest biographical information related to your family, asset information, and other important details about the marriage. The divorce law is very particular about this point.

You must also complete an important section that deals with the “grounds for divorce.” The grounds validate the reasons for ending the marriage. So, carefully declare the reasons behind the divorce and make sure you are choosing grounds with precision.

Here are a few informative tips to help you choose the ground:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Separation
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Narcotic drug addiction
  • Mental illness
  • Imprisonment
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Abnormal sexual conduct

Couples seeking to part ways legally have several options. They can either file for a divorce immediately or use any of the extreme grounds like adultery or irreconcilable differences. Alternatively, they can also separate physically and choose to live apart for 18 months and file for legal separation.

In case you choose the first option, consult your divorce law attorney to determine an appropriate ground. The said ground should be explicitly stated in your Complaint.

However, if you choose the second option, live apart in separate households for a waiting period of 18-months. Thereafter, you can proceed with the divorce. Note that waiting for the divorce, in two different homes, can be a substantial monetary burden.

Common Grounds To File A Divorce

Irreconcilable Differences

Most of the states accept the ground of irreconcilable or irretrievable differences in marriage. It is also called the “no-fault” ground for marriage.

Using these terms, couples can start the divorce proceedings without any animosity. It is a civilized way to part ways without accusing one another of a contentious divorce. This ground also means that the particular marriage lasted more than six months and finally broke down.


Cruelty is one of the most grounds litigants like to use for divorce. Despite being a harsh word, cruelty, or extreme cruelty, maybe a mild ground to file a divorce. It depends on the party that files the divorce to determine the items of cruelty to which he/she was subjected to.

For example, cruelty can be described by one of the parties as verbal and physical abuse by the other, including vivid details of events. In other cases, extreme cruelty could also depict a lack of emotional support. Cruelty could be either too expressive or extremely understated. However, offer details so that the judge is convinced.


You can use “separation” as a ground for divorce only if you lived separately for 18 months or more.

Multiple Grounds

Sometimes, couples may cite multiple grounds to file for divorce. Although this is permissible, having multiple grounds does not carry weightage before the judge. One specific ground is necessary for divorce.

Additional Grounds

There may be one or many reasons to file for a divorce. Different states have different conditions. You must choose one convincing ground to file your complaint and make sure you are eligible for the ultimate judgment.

The irreconcilable difference is the most commonly used and recognized grounds in most of the states. It indicates that the marriage broke down systematically over six months or more. You need not identify factors constituting this breakdown. It is a more respectful and civilized way to get divorced instead of throwing muck at each other.