Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage

Posted by & filed under Divorce.

Under Minnesota law, the statutory basis for dissolving a marriage is one spouse’s (or both spouses’) assertion that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.  It is important to note that it is not required that both spouses assert that the marriage cannot be saved.

In many cases, one spouse wants to end the marriage, but the other spouse would like to save the marriage.  In one sense, the Minnesota statute reflects a certain reality: if both spouses are not firmly invested in the preservation of the marriage, the marriage cannot survive.  In other words, the marriage cannot be sustained if either spouse has one foot in, and one foot out of, the marriage.  If one spouse makes the assertion of irretrievable breakdown, the other spouse can refrain from admitting it, but cannot keep the divorce from happening.

What the statute actually reflects is the no-fault grounds for divorce that accompanied the abolition years ago of fault-based grounds for divorce, such as adultery, abandonment or cruelty.


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