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Could a judge ever deny your request for divorce?

Could a judge ever deny your request for divorce?

When you submit your divorce petition to the court, certain facts must be considered before your application can be granted so you can ensure that your request for divorce is not denied or dismissed.

Could a judge ever refuse my divorce?

The only ground for divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. There are five facts that you can use to prove this breakdown. These include the following:

  1. Adultery: To rely on the fact of adultery, you will need to show that your spouse has committed adultery and that you find it intolerable to live with them.

  1. Behavior: This fact relies on evidence that your spouse behaves or has behaved in a manner that means you cannot reasonably be expected to continue to live with them.

  1. Desertion: To rely on this fact, you must prove that your spouse has deserted you and that you have lived separately for the last two years.

  1. Two years’ separation: To use this fact as proof that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, you and your spouse must have been living in separate households continuously for the past two years.

  1. Five years’ separation: The five-year fact relies on evidence that you and your spouse have lived separately for a continuous period of at least five years.

To be granted a divorce, you must show that the marriage has broken down by proving at least one of those five facts. If there is an irretrievable breakdown, but none of the facts can be proven, then there is little chance of you getting a divorce. Conversely, if the fact can be proven, but the marriage has not broken down irretrievably (for instance, if there has been adultery but you have remained together for more than six months after the infidelity was discovered), again, no divorce can be granted.

Reasons for Court-Contested Divorces 

Based on the particular circumstances, there are a few situations when the court may temporarily deny a divorce. These include the following:

Procedural mishaps 

Procedural mishaps are the most common reason your divorce filing may be rejected. Examples of procedural mishaps include:

  • not meeting the residency requirements to file for divorce in that state;
  • missing the required court forms in your filing;
  • not appropriately serving your spouse with divorce papers;
  • provide insufficient details in your filing about how you are dividing assets or parenting time.


Fraud is perhaps the most uncommon reason for your divorce to be denied. However, if there is reason to suspect that you and your spouse have ulterior motives and conspiring to obtain the divorce to your advantage, the divorce may be rejected.

At-fault divorce 

An at-fault divorce is where one spouse claims the breakdown of the marriage is the other’s fault for reasons such as infidelity, cruelty, or adultery. This action is often taken to obtain a greater distribution of marital assets and additional spousal support. If the court does not find enough evidence to support your claim of fault, your request for an at-fault divorce may likely be denied. Most states now recognize no-fault divorces (in varying degrees and differing contingencies). If your original filing is rejected, you will need to refile your request using the no-fault option if you still wish to proceed with the divorce.

Unresolved child support issues 

If there are children involved, a judge may not grant a divorce until you and your partner work out all issues relating to child support and custody. If you and your spouse cannot settle these details through mediation or arbitration, you may need to go to trial to have the court make a final ruling.

Refusal to sign divorce papers 

Refusal to sign divorce papers will not stall the divorce for long. If your spouse refuses to sign the papers, you can file for a contested divorce. You will be required to notify your spouse by formally serving the divorce papers. These divorce papers include your terms relating to how you wish to have the marital property divided, child support payments set up, custodial arrangements defined, etcetera. If your spouse does not respond or show up in court, the court can grant a default divorce, meaning that by default, they will give you the divorce you want and the terms you asked for in your filing.

How to Avoid Divorce Denials

Knowing that a divorce case could potentially get denied will help prepare parties to avoid any procedural issues that might be overlooked during the divorce proceedings. It is also advantageous for parties eligible for a default divorce to understand the requirements they must meet to have a judge enter a default judgment in their favor. While it is uncommon, knowing how to keep divorce proceedings active can keep the case from being dismissed for want of prosecution.

There are many ways that could lead to your case being denied or dismissed, and making sure that your forms are properly completed can help ensure that your divorce is settled as smoothly as possible.  Contact SplitEasy for help today.