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The basics of irretrievable breakdown – aka no-fault divorce

| Apr 10, 2020 | Divorce |

Many divorces occur due to irretrievable breakdown, New York’s term for what other states often call “irreconcilable differences.”

Separating based on irretrievable breakdown means there does not need to have been an inciting incident by one spouse, such as cheating or abandonment. Instead, this is considered a no-fault divorce. While this simplifies some aspects of a separation when compared to an at-fault divorce, it does not come without hurdles.

Demonstrating irretrievable breakdown

At its core, irretrievable breakdown means the relationship is broken beyond repair. Unlike any of the at-fault grounds for divorce, you do not have to prove specific behavior by your partner is what caused the break-up.

Even though irretrievable breakdown is considered a no-fault ground for divorce, you must still clear some legal hurdles.

The law requires that the marriage must have been over for at least six months. This does not mean you were living physically apart from each other that entire time, nor does it mean you officially separated. The court, however, can ask for evidence demonstrating the relationship is indeed broken and cannot be fixed.

Other issues to sort out

There are a few additional bars to clear before the court will grant a divorce based on irretrievable breakdown. You and your soon-to-be former spouse must resolve certain questions before the court will grant a judgment of divorce. That includes:

  • The division of marital property
  • Child custody and visitation arrangements
  • Child support agreements
  • Spousal support/maintenance terms
  • Attorneys fees

Both spouses can reach an agreement on these matters on their own, or the courts can make a determination. Either way, the divorce will not become official until there are clear answers.

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