The legal standard for divorce in Missouri (i.e., dissolution of marriage) is “irretrievable breakdown.” Consequently, in any legal petition for divorce, the petitioner must allege that there is no likelihood that the marriage can be preserved, and, therefore, the marriage is irretrievably broken.
One not so common issue that can arise for a number of reasons is that the spouse denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken. There is, then, a swearing match of diametrically opposed allegations. And, in this situation, a Court doesn’t particularly enjoy stepping in and determining whether a marriage is legally worthy of divorce. This is not the end of the road, however. If the petitioner is alleging irretrievable breakdown, and the respondent denies this, there is a number of ways the petitioner can overcome the denial:
(1) Adultery; (2) Unreasonable behavior (sounds broad because it is); (3) Abandonment for 6 months; (4) Voluntary separation in excess of 1 year; or (5) involuntary separation in excess of 2 years.
As a result, in those rare instances where there is a disagreement as to the premise of a divorce, there is a way to “break the deadlock.”