Delamination is often identified as an important failure mechanism in structures with a high interface density, such as modern microelectronic systems and advanced composite materials. Delamination tests performed on different interface structures reveal complex failure mechanisms (crack bridging, fibre pull out, micro-void coalescence, fibrilation, crack meandering, etc.) in the fracture process zone that lead to an irreversible unloading response of the interface, ranging from full damage to full plasticity. Modeling the unloading response of an interface is important for predicting phenomena such as crack branching and crack propagation at multiple interfaces. This paper presents a 2D irreversible combined plasticity-damage unloading model, which can be used to extend the cohesive zone (loading) models with a proper unloading description that is suitable for modeling the entire loading-unloading response in the process zone. The presented model is able to capture changes in unloading behavior as a function of mode mixity, whereas it introduced only two additional model parameters that can be determined from dedicated delamination experiments. As a demonstration, the improved Xu-Needleman cohesive zone law has been extended with the proposed combined damage-plasticity unloading formulation. Numerical simulations with this extended model are performed for a glue interface system, recovering the typical observed behavior in delamination experiments. Finally, a complete procedure to extract all CZ model parameters is presented and illustrated for the glue interface system. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.