What Does "Irreconcilable Differences" Mean?

 Posted on August 15, 2023 in Divorce

DuPage County Divorce LawyerThe state of Illinois now only recognizes one ground for divorce - irreconcilable differences. Rather than needing to prove that your spouse has engaged in wrongdoing, you now simply need to show that you and your spouse have differences that cannot be reconciled. In most cases, the court will simply believe you and your spouse when you state that you have irreconcilable differences and you will not need to offer proof so long as you are in agreement. However, if your spouse decides to contest the divorce, you may need to offer some type of evidence or testimony suggesting that you are not able to reconcile and return to a happy marriage. Even in cases of contested divorce, courts rarely perform an in-depth inquiry into the breakdown of the marriage. Most spouses who try to prevent a divorce by seeking to show a possibility of reconciliation rarely if ever succeed, but may be able to delay your case. If you are concerned that your spouse may choose this course of action, you should begin speaking to an attorney as soon as possible. 

Defining Irreconcilable Differences 

“Irreconcilable differences” describes an incredibly broad spectrum of reasons for divorce. One spouse filing for divorce may be unprepared to reconcile after an affair, while another set of spouses may have simply become two different people and found that they are not happy anymore. 

The statute pertaining to irreconcilable differences states a few elements that should be shown to support a finding of irreconcilable differences. It is important to note that the term “irreconcilable differences” itself has little in the way of a specific legal definition, but is rather intentionally left rather broad. Every married couple has a different standard relating to differences between the spouses that they are or are not willing to tolerate. 

A spouse seeking to prove that they are entitled to a divorce must show that the couple’s “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” This means that the marriage has broken down to the point where the spouses no longer feel that they can return to the way things were. The spouse seeking divorce must also show that any past attempts to reconcile did not succeed or that further attempts to reconcile would be “impracticable and not in the best interest of the family.” This means that courts do not expect heroic efforts to reconcile. You likely do not need to show that trying to reconcile would be harmful, but simply that it is not in your family’s best interest to keep trying. 

This is a generally low standard, as courts have no interest in forcing people to remain in marriages that are no longer working out. 

Contact a DuPage Divorce Lawyer 

Andrew Cores Family Law Group is committed to helping spouses who are no longer happy in their marriages get the divorce they need to begin anew. Our caring team of Wheaton divorce attorneys will strive to make the process as smooth as possible for you. Call 630-871-1002 to receive a complimentary consultation. 




Share this post:



Wheaton Office

400 S. County Farm Road
Suite 200
Wheaton, IL 60187


Oswego Office

123 W. Washington Street
Suite 334
Oswego, IL 60543


Contact Us