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Minn. Stat. § 518.06(2) (1976) expressly permits a finding of irretrievable breakdown upon evidence of serious marital discord. Minn. Stat. § 518.06 (1976) applies to a marriage dissolution action if an appeal is pending prior to the effective date of the 1978 amendment. Minn. Stat. § 518.06(1), (2)(6) (1976) provides: A dissolution of a marriage may be granted by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a showing to the satisfaction of the court that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship. A court may make a finding that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship if the finding is supported by evidence of any of the following: Serious marital discord adversely affecting the attitude of one or both of the parties toward the marriage. Section 518.06(1), (2)(6) is amended by 1978 Minn. Laws ch. 722, §§ 22, 23, 63, effective March 1, 1979. 1978 Minn. Laws ch. 722, § 63 repeals Minn. Stat. § 518.06(2) (1976), and the repeal applies to actions pending prior to the effective date unless an appeal is pending or a new trial is ordered. In that event the law in effect at the time of the order sustaining the appeal of the new trial governs. 1978 Minn. Laws ch. 772, § 61(b)(d).
The husband had a long-standing history of alcoholism. After unsuccessfully urging the husband to seek treatment for alcoholism, the wife asked the husband to leave the home. The husband moved out and subsequently filed for divorce. The wife claimed that the marriage could be saved if the husband was treated for alcoholism, but she had not otherwise been willing to take him back. Prior to the hearing on the dissolution petition, the wife had unsuccessfully sought a court order dismissing the petition unless her husband completed treatment for his alcoholism within 6 months and agreed to a one-year after-care program; if thereafter he wanted the dissolution she would not resist. The trial court dissolved the marriage after finding, among other things, that the husband suffered from alcoholism, a treatable disease; that it was a principal cause of marital discord which adversely affected his attitude towards the marriage; and that the marriage was irretrievably broken. On appeal, the wife asked how lucid were the perceptions of the alcoholic husband about the marriage, whether the same perception would have existed after recovery from alcoholism, and whether the husband proved that the marriage was irretrievably broken.
Did the trial court err in granting the husband’s petition for dissolution of marriage?
The court affirmed the judgment and the order from the trial court, holding that the record amply supported the finding of serious marital discord, and § 518.062 expressly permitted a finding of irretrievable breakdown upon such evidence. The court further held that the husband's untreated alcoholism did not defeat findings of serious marital discord and irretrievable breakdown.