irreconcilable differences

Irreconcilable Differences: The 2 Words That Destroyed My Family

irreconcilable differences


What exactly are “irreconcilable differences” during divorce?

Since the creation of “no-fault” divorce, irreconcilable differences is the grounds upon which most divorces are filed. Generally, it means there is no hope for the couple to work out their problems and save the marriage.

Each state has different requirements for filing for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. For example, New Jersey requires couples to have experienced the irreconcilable differences for at least six months before filing the divorce complaint. Couples must “make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved” and show clearly the couple cannot resolve their disputes and save the marriage.

In West Virginia, couples can divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, only if both spouses agree to this claim in writing.

YAY West Virginia!

I’m all about there being a consensus by both parties to a divorce that the differences are, in fact, irreconcilable. Put that shit in writing and get both parties’ signature or, NO DIVORCE.

Unwanted divorce and irreconcilable differences

I was the recipient of a divorce I didn’t want. The night before my ex left home, we made love and he said to me, “what would I ever do without you?” The next day he was gone. When I requested an explanation for his desire for a divorce, he told me he “didn’t know why but a switch flipped in my head, I heard it when it went click and I knew if I didn’t get out, I was going to die.”

There was no other woman, just a man who was off-kilter emotional, a wife who had had the rug pulled out from under her world and a little boy and girl who were watching the very foundation of their lives being destroyed.

It took him 4 months to get the divorce he so desperately had to have. They say no-fault divorce laws were put in place to keep down conflict during divorce. I say bullshit. Family Court dockets are full, Family Court judges are overworked and overtaxed. No-fault divorce laws were created to clear dockets as quickly as possible and to keep judges from getting tied up in the dirty details of domestic issues.

My husband’s therapist told me that he was in the throes of clinical depression and needed to be on medication. He refused medication and, instead destroyed the one thing that meant the most to him in the world…his family. And, the Family Court system is complicit.

My husband, my children and I suffered because what was most valuable to us was nothing more than a file on some judge’s desk that he wanted to get rid of and call it done. When the judge stamped that final divorce decree, he sealed our fates.

What comes after irreconcilable difference

Since our divorce 16 years ago, I’ve remarried and moved on to plan B. It’s a good plan but, it isn’t plan A and I’ll always resent not being able to carry on with my initial plan. I love the man I’m married to now, not like I loved my first husband, though. He is my second choice and, it hurts me to say that because he deserves better.

My ex has been married 3 times since our divorce. He is working on his 4th divorce now. He never sought psychological treatment for his depression. Imagine where he would be today if a Family Court judge had cared enough about him and our family to force that issue. Had cared enough to say, “I don’t think a family should be dissolved until the last avenue for reconciliation has been explored.”

Our oldest child is married and has a child and wonderful wife. He has a great career, is financially viable and is in therapy to finally “unpack my baggage, as he explained to me the other day. “The divorce really fucked me up, “he said.

Our youngest child is in college and struggling. She is on medication for depression and anxiety. For nearly a year her panic attacks were so bad she wouldn’t leave our home. She has no trust in people, life or her worthiness as a person.

She and her father were attached at the hip. To say she was a Daddy’s girl is an understatement. I’ve watched her suffer since the day he walked out. She lost the person she was closest to in the world. She went from him reading bedtime stories to her every night to seeing him every other weekend. Our divorce changed the direction of her life and cost her the safety and security she had always known. Nothing could fill the hole left in her heart where her Daddy had once resided.

He made no effort to remain close to either of our children. The older they got, the less he came around. Eventually, he became someone they used to know. Our daughter, who should have been taught what it meant to be loved by a man, by her father, was, instead, taught what it meant to be abandoned by a man, by her father.

She will be OK, I’ll make sure that the damage done to her gets fixed. She’ll have a full life, but I guarantee you, she’ll be able to spot a bullshitter from a mile away. The man who ends up with her has got his job cut out for him when it comes to building a bond and trust.

All of us, except for my ex will be OK. We’ll always carry the scars. And, I’ll always wonder what life would have been like for my children if it hadn’t been derailed by a Family Court system that believes “irreconcilable differences” is the only reason a man needs to drop a bomb on his spouse and children.

It’s reasonable to say that I have differences with our country’s divorce laws and Family Court, and those differences are definitely irreconcilable.

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