What Does Irreconcilable Differences Mean in a Divorce?

What does irreconcilable differences mean in a divorce?

Filing for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences in New Jersey has continued to be a popular option in recent years for spouses in troubled marriages. However, many soon-to-be-former couples are continuously encouraged to undergo their divorce proceedings on these grounds without fully comprehending what “irreconcilable differences” technically means.

Vocabulary is always an essential aspect of any divorce process, which is why it’s important for all individuals undergoing a divorce to take the time to research specific terms, like irreconcilable differences. Understanding the fundamentals of divorce principles will help you understand what these terms may represent for your marriage.

Our team of New Jersey divorce lawyer has assisted with countless divorce settlements that have been filed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, and we’re always here to help individuals and families better understand if irreconcilable differences are the right cause to file for divorce for you and your spouse.

If you’re currently undergoing a divorce settlement and are confused about what grounds you and your spouse should file for, contact Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers at (201) 880-9770 so we can better understand your situation and put you in the best position for the most successful divorce settlement.

What Are Irreconcilable Differences?

“Irreconcilable differences” technically means that an individual and their spouse cannot get along with one another enough to keep the marriage alive, and this lack of getting along can cause a whole array of other issues in the marriage. It doesn’t necessarily matter what caused a rift within the marriage, because irreconcilable differences simply mean that the marriage isn’t fixable and the differences between the spouses are too great.

There are instances in which people simply feel as though they cannot sustain their marriage because of whatever issues they’re experiencing. This coincides with the fact that you don’t need to come to a mutual agreement as to why you are divorcing your spouse if you file under irreconcilable differences.

Filing for divorce for irreconcilable differences is common in New Jersey; what differentiates irreconcilable differences is that it is another way to categorize your divorce as a no-fault divorce. This means that the cause for divorce cannot be blamed upon one spouse, contrary to at-fault divorces where one spouse might allege abuse or adultery as grounds for seeking divorce, for example. New Jersey Revised Statutes, N.J.S.A.Section 2A:34-2 establishes all the grounds for divorce in New Jersey, including “Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.” Important note that you do not have first to be physically separated to file under an Irreconcilable divorce claim.

So what can cause a marriage to break down and not be fixable, leading to a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences? The following section gives some common examples.

What Are Examples of Irreconcilable Differences?

Every person has certain opinions, habits, upbringing, and personality that contribute to who we are–all of which can eventually lead to a marriage breakdowns.

When a couple claims irreconcilable differences as “the cause” for their divorce proceeding, it means they cannot work out their issues to regain a healthy future. This includes failed attempts at trying to rectify their differences through therapy and other types of marriage counseling. If you file under irreconcilable differences, you don’t need to specify the reason to the outside world.

The overall reasons why a couple may file for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences can always vary significantly, but the following are five common examples of areas that can lead to irreconcilable differences:

1. Finances

Money can be a sensitive subject for all married couples. This is because each spouse will bring their own ideas about money and how expenses should be handled, how much should go into savings, etc. Familial finances can be even trickier to agree upon when only one spouse has a consistent income source.

Some married couples undergo serious conflict when it comes to debt accumulation, remaining on a steady budget, managing property, selling assets, and so much more. There are a variety of ways in which financial tension can lead to irreconcilable differences.

2. Parenting

For the most part, we base our parenting beliefs on how we were raised as children, and when a married couple is brought up with different styles of parenting it can lead to a communication breakdown between them when children become a part of their family. Spouses may disagree upon the best ways to parent the children, plan for their futures, or how to discipline the children.

Parenting can be a very contentious aspect of any marital relationship and having differences in this part of a marriage can quickly erode healthy communication with one another.

3. Religion

Being married to someone who has opposing religious views can make it rather difficult to be in alignment during the marriage. There are many situations in which religion doesn’t seem like a big difference at the beginning of a relationship, but this can quickly change when religion is involved with how a couple plans to raise their children.

Sometimes both spouses will hold very firmly to their differing religious faiths, which can make maintaining the marriage very difficult.

4. Extended Family Relationships

Having difficult in-laws is a very common reason for marital conflict. This may result from a spouse wanting to spend more (or less) time with their family than you’d prefer. There are many instances in which a strenuous extended family relationship will create a divide within a marriage. When that divide continues to grow wider, it can contribute to the marriage’s ending.

5. Communication

Many of the above irreconcilable differences stem from dysfunctional or ineffective (or absent) marital communication. There are plenty of people who get together and get married who start off having poor communication skills. This can get worse as a marriage ages and issues arise, if it is not worked on early.

Poor communication between spouses can make problem-solving very difficult during the marriage. It can make having even the simplest conversation seem tremendously difficult. Communication breakdowns and frequent arguments can make marriages unbearable to stay in, which commonly leads to divorce.


A no-fault divorce means that you are not blaming the other party for doing something to cause the divorce. No-fault divorce means there are irreconcilable differences between the two spouses. In the state of New Jersey, you don’t need a reason to get divorced. When you file on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, you are entering into a no-fault divorce and all the reasons for splitting remain known just between you and your spouse.


Irreconcilable differences are very common, and the biggest benefit to filing on these grounds is that you do not air out your personal drama to the world. There is enough to discuss in attempting to get divorced — why also argue over the reason why? Filing for divorce under the grounds of irreconcilable differences can save money on attorney fees and avoid your having to prove the reason for the divorce, which can be very difficult and stressful, in addition to discussing all of the issues in order to get divorced.

Although no-fault divorce has many benefits, there may be instances when it can make sense to file on fault grounds. Filing on fault grounds is not as common as no-fault filings, but it can sometimes be advantageous to divorce issues like division of property, child custody and alimony, if particular circumstances are in place.

Fully Understand Your Differences Before You File

Some marital issues simply cannot be worked out, no matter how much you put into trying to find resolutions. The point here is that each one of you has a right to be happy and live a good life. If that is not happening in your marriage, it is okay to say so and move forward.

It’s important that you speak to a qualified attorney about your situation and the possibility of filing under irreconcilable differences. You can also learn whether filing on another ground may be more beneficial for your circumstances.

Speak in Confidence with a New Jersey Men’s Rights Divorce Lawyer

If you are seriously considering divorce within New Jersey on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, then it’s crucial that you seek out a knowledgeable lawyer for assistance.

Our attorneys have decades of experience when it comes to handling all types of divorce proceedings and family law matters, and we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. Once we have a thorough understanding of your current situation, we’ll be able to put you and your family on the right track toward a divorce settlement that works for all involved parties.

To arrange a time to speak with one of our divorce attorneys in a confidential case evaluation, contact Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers at (201) 880-9770. We want to put you in the best position for your divorce.

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