Incompatibility Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Incompatibility, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Incompatibility?

a situation in a marital relationship when the husband and wife cannot continue to live together and decide to separate.This can be an important ground for divorce.

History and Meaning of Incompatibility

Incompatibility refers to a marital situation where the husband and the wife are unable to live together any longer due to their divergent values, personalities, behaviors, or goals. This term has been used since the earlier parts of the 20th century when states began to acknowledge the breakdown of a marriage even without attributing guilt to either party. In no-fault divorce jurisdictions, incompatibility could be the sole grounds for divorce when both partners agree that they cannot reside with each other. However, in other states, a spouse must prove that one party is at fault, such as cruelty or adultery, in order to show incompatibility.

Examples of Incompatibility

  1. A couple who married when they were young finds themselves having different goals and interests as they grow older, and they decide that they are incompatible and seek a divorce.
  2. Two people with different religious beliefs marry, but as the marriage continues, they find themselves unable to reconcile those differences and feel incompatible, leading them to get a divorce.
  3. A husband may have a high-income job that requires him to work long hours, but the wife prefers a more relaxed lifestyle. In this case, their respective lifestyles may be incompatible and lead to separation.

Legal Terms Similar to Incompatibility

  1. Irretrievable Breakdown: A legal term used to signify that there is no chance of a marriage being saved, even if both partners were to try and reconcile.
  2. No-fault Divorce: A type of divorce where neither party needs to be found at fault for a marriage breakdown.
  3. Legal Separation: A legal agreement that allows married couples to live separately without getting a divorce.