Can You Get a Divorce for Irreconcilable Differences in Bellevue?

December 24, 2022

Are you facing a divorce in Bellevue, Washington? If so, you may be wondering what reason you must give for the divorce. It’s important to understand that Washington is a no-fault divorce state before you cite your grounds for divorce. One of the most common reasons for filing for divorce in a no-fault state is irreconcilable differences.

What Are Irreconcilable Differences? Dictionary defines irreconcilable differences as “the inability to agree on most things or on important things.” But what does that mean when it comes to divorce? It means that the couple simply cannot get along well enough anymore to keep their marriage alive. The inability to get along can cause a tremendous amount of other issues within the union.

At the risk of oversimplification, irreconcilable differences mean that the marriage just isn’t fixable. It doesn’t matter what started the problem anymore; there’s no getting past it. People who feel like they can’t continue to live as a married couple because their issues are too significant are among the many who choose divorce. In the context of divorce, filing under irreconcilable differences means that the people who are divorcing don’t need to mutually agree on the reason for their ultimate divorce.

The term “irreconcilable differences” is used in family law situations as a reason for divorce in a no-fault divorce case. Some states also use the terms incompatibility or irretrievable breakdown when citing the reasons for divorce. Usually, when irreconcilable differences are cited as the reason behind the dissolution of a marriage, the courts don’t ask what the differences are.

In fact, the difference can sometimes be that one person wants a divorce and the other doesn’t. Often, when irreconcilable differences are cited as the reason for a divorce, the couple doesn’t have to be in agreement to get divorced under the irreconcilable differences reasoning.

Can I Cite Irreconcilable Differences to File for Divorce in Bellevue? 

Washington is a no-fault state. That means that the only reason you are required to cite to file for a divorce in Bellevue is irreconcilable differences. The person filing for divorce in Washington doesn’t have to prove that the other party did anything wrong. They won’t be required to disclose details about why the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown.

Only one party has to cite irreconcilable differences as their reason for seeking a divorce. With a no-fault state, it can simplify the divorce process to claim irreconcilable differences. In a state with fault-based divorces, one spouse could claim adultery or another reason, like cruelty, for filing for divorce. That reason could make a difference to property or support settlements.

In Washington, the laws state that the spouse’s actions during the marriage can’t influence the decisions made regarding alimony, child support, custody, or property divisions. However, that doesn’t mean the actions are condoned. Often spouses can recoup money that was wasted by the misbehaving spouse while in the commission of the misconduct.

An exception to the rule regarding bad behavior not affecting child support or custody after divorce is in the case of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes a number of things. Those include physical abuse, emotional abuse, stalking, or harassment via phone, mail, or social media, among other issues. When domestic violence is present in a divorce proceeding, it impacts child custody, visitation, child support, and other issues.

Common Irreconcilable Differences in Bellevue

Each person brings their own habits, opinions, and ways of doing things into a marriage. Even the personalities involved can cause issues later that can lead to the breakdown of the relationship.

When a couple seeks a divorce for irreconcilable differences, it means they cannot work out their differences to move forward with this relationship in a healthy manner. Sometimes, they have tried and failed to solve their differences through counseling of various types. The reasons couples give for their irreconcilable differences vary greatly, but let’s look at the most common differences that can be considered irreconcilable.


Money can often be a dividing force in relationships. Each spouse enters the marriage with preconceived notions of how to handle their finances. They each have their own ideas of how the money should be made and how the bills should be paid. Managing finances can often be harder when only one person has a consistent income.

Accumulating debts, staying on budget, and managing and selling assets are all issues that can cause strife in a relationship. Financial tensions can then lead the couple to be unable to solve other problems in their marriage.


As parents, our own childhood informs our parenting styles. When a married couple is brought up with different parenting styles, it can lead to issues with communication when children are added to the family. Spouses may disagree on how to discipline, how to plan for the children’s futures, and other parenting questions. When parenting style has become a point of contention in a marriage, it can lead to irreconcilable differences in the relationship.


Opposing religious views can make it difficult for a couple to remain in alignment with each other on other issues in their relationship. In the beginning, what may have seemed like an insignificant difference can change quickly as couples begin to look toward the future with children. It can even affect how the couple chooses to spend holidays or something as simple as how they choose to eat. The marriage can suffer when both spouses hold tightly to their religious faiths.

Extended Family Relationships

Difficulty with in-laws is an unsurprisingly common reason for irreconcilable differences. Sometimes, this is because one spouse wants to spend time with family differently than the other spouse does. Overly strong extended family relationships can create a rift between a married couple leading to a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.


Communication is key to a successful relationship of any kind, and that is particularly true in a marriage. Many of the other differences we’ve discussed thus far can be attributed to a lack of communication between the couple. Dysfunctional, ineffective, or no communication can lead to many other irreconcilable differences.

Couples often enter a marriage relationship with poor communication skills. The issues occur when they don’t work together to overcome those issues. Communication will only get worse if the couple doesn’t commit to working on communicating with each other at the beginning of the relationship.

Ineffective communication skills can make problem-solving a challenging prospect. Even a simple conversation can seem like a monumental task to overcome. Communication breakdowns can often lead to routine arguments, making leaving seem like the only option.

Benefits of a No-Fault Divorce in Bellevue

Irreconcilable differences are a common reason for divorces. With a no-fault divorce, couples can dissolve their marriage without having to air all of their dirty laundries to the world. When divorcing, couples have enough things to iron out without having to argue over the reasons for getting divorced in the first place. Additionally, filing for divorce citing irreconcilable differences can help the couple save money on attorney fees as there is no reason to endure a lengthy process of proving the reason for the divorce.

Before Filing, Fully Understand Your Differences

Each individual wants (and deserves) a good and happy life. However, it doesn’t always happen that people experience this kind of life within their marriages. Some marital issues are simply unable to be worked through, no matter how much effort the couple gives the pursuit. When couples are fighting all the time and simply can’t solve their problems, divorce might be the choice they need to make to live their best lives.

Do You Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce Citing Irreconcilable Differences in Bellevue? 

Filing for divorce citing irreconcilable differences can often be less time-consuming and less costly than filing for divorce, in which you must prove what actions led to the divorce. Having an attorney, you trust to answer any questions you may have regarding the process is a necessary step in filing for divorce. Be sure to hire an attorney who makes you feel confident and comfortable.

Communication is a key element to use as a screening tool for choosing an attorney. Only work with someone who can effectively help you understand everything about the process.

Don’t Put Off Consulting with an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Washington

In no-fault divorce states like Washington, irreconcilable differences are often the main reason for seeking a divorce. That’s because people in those states aren’t required to prove their reasons for choosing to divorce. There is nothing to prove in the proceedings, which can be a stress reliever for some couples.

Often, irreconcilable differences actually stem from a lack of effective communication between a couple. When they enter their marriage, they lack the skills to communicate with each other appropriately. Rather than honing the skills, they continue to allow them to stagnate until, eventually, there is a complete breakdown in communication, and arguments become the norm rather than the exception. That breakdown in communication then leads to irreconcilable differences that lead to divorce.

If you are facing a divorce in Washington, you should have a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in your corner. An attorney can help you understand the filing process and obtain your divorce in Bellevue. Contact the team at the Aberdeen Law Firm to learn how they can assist you with filing for divorce based on irreconcilable differences.

Related Content: The Ultimate Guide To Divorce in Washington

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