Demystifying Divorce

Irreconcilable Differences:
A Case Study in Grounds for Divorce

Shari´ Morris, Family Specialist

By Shari´ Morris

When it comes to divorce, often a spouse is looking for answers in all the wrong places. Consequently, the spouse is overwhelmed with tons of misinformation. One of the biggest misconceptions you need your spouse’s permission or agreement to get the divorce. While that statement may be true in some cases, it’s not true for all. Let’s take a look at Mason and Kate’s case.

A Failing Marriage                                                                                                                                      Mason and Kate got married when they were 40 and 38, respectively. When they were married, Kate had two adult daughters who never lived with the new couple. The couple began to build a life together for the next two years. During the last two of the six years, the marriage began to break down and Mason began seeing another woman.

Mason’s affair started out private for about a year. After a year of seeing the other woman in private, Mason made it known to Kate that he was no longer interested in their marriage and wanted a divorce. Kate refused to agree to a divorce, pleading with him not to leave her and vowed to make their marriage work.

Mason was disinterested in making his marriage work and began publicly dating the other woman to the point it was known to all his friends and family that he had a new girlfriend. After a while, Kate decided to move out of the shared home without telling Mason. Mason returned home one day to find all of Kate’s possessions (and some of his) were gone. Kate later called Mason and told him that she was gone.

Years Later                                                                                                                                                Mason eventually moved out of the shared home and got a place on his own. Years later, Mason and the new girlfriend moved in together and had a daughter. Kate and Mason never spoke again and for the next seven years, they lived totally separate lives.

After ten years of living apart and not communicating with one another, Mason wanted to legally divorce Kate. Kate refused and told Mason that she was never going to agree to a divorce. Mason thought he would have to stay together forever.

Seek an Attorney’s Advice                                                                                                                              In Mason’s situation, he could proceed with a divorce without Kate’s approval. Mason has what’s called a fault-based divorce. As long as Mason can prove the grounds of fault before a judge, he does not need Kate to agree.

There are many other instances where agreement to divorce is not necessary from the opposing spouse to proceed. The best way to determine if you have grounds for divorce is to have your specific situation assessed by an experienced attorney.

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