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Irreconcilable differences are the no-fault grounds by which couples divorce in California. California defines irreconcilable differences as “grounds determined by the court to be substantial reasons for discontinuing the marriage and which make it apparent that the marriage should be dissolved.” However, neither California nor the court clearly explains these “substantial reasons.”

Without an understanding of no-fault divorce, it is difficult to grasp the concept of irreconcilable differences and why this terminology is used to describe the breakup of a marriage.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

A no-fault divorce is the most popular type of divorce used today. Unlike old-fashioned, fault-based divorce, neither spouse is required to prove the other spouse breached the marriage contract in a no-fault divorce.

Fault-based divorces were based on the following and more:

  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment

In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is blamed for the dissolution of the marriage. Instead, the spouse filing for the divorce claims irreconcilable differences exist between the spouses that make it impossible to continue with the marriage.

What are Irreconcilable Differences?

While there is no one definition offering specific examples of irreconcilable differences, there are some guides.The University of Washington conducted a national survey in which common arguments were identified between spouses, and the predictability of relationship outcomes over three years was analyzed.

The following were recognized as examples of irreconcilable differences:

  • In-laws and extended family involvement
  • Balance between home and work
  • Communication patterns
  • Sexual intimacy
  • Personal habits and idiosyncrasies
  • Sharing household responsibilities
  • Outside friendships
  • Political views
  • Debt difficulties
  • Disciplining children

What About Marital Fault?

There are times when marital “fault” is the cause of a divorce. For example, California may require a no-fault divorce filing, but a marriage may end because of adultery. While marital fault does not affect the grounds for divorce, it can impact the final property settlement or child custody matters.

Assets used to further an affair may be deducted from a spouse’s share of the marital property division. Child custody decisions are directly affected by determinations of domestic violence. All California child custody matters are determined based solely on the best interests of the children involved.

It is crucial that a spouse who chooses to use marital fault as a tool in divorce consider both the positive and negative ramifications of doing so and the possibility of their spouse doing the same.

Contact an Experienced California Divorce Attorney Today

If you would like more information on California’s no-fault divorce system and how it affects property division, child custody, and other vital marital issues, contact the experienced Los Angeles family law attorneys at Fernandez & Karney. Our divorce attorneys are skilled, competent, and honest advisors who will lead you through your divorce, whether that requires courtroom litigation or an alternative method of dispute resolution.

Contact Fernandez & Karney’s team of professionals now to schedule a confidential consultation in your area. We will gladly review your situation and discuss any divorce goals and expectations you have for now and in the future.