Although divorces can be be granted for a variety of reasons, ranging from cruelty to a mutual decision by the couple to no longer live together, there are times when a judge is within his or her rights to reject a couple's divorce petition. Here are two instances when this may occur.
Insufficient Fault Grounds
The legal term "grounds for divorce" refers to a list of reasons the state will approve a separation for. For instance, in New York, adultery is an acceptable reason for a divorce.
Although all states have amended the divorce laws to include some type of no-fault option, there are times when that option is not acceptable or available and you must give grounds for the divorce. For instance, if one spouse leaves and never returns for a period of years, the petitioning spouse must list abandonment as the grounds for divorce in some states.
Sometimes it may be more beneficial to use fault grounds. Domestic abuse survivors may be awarded more money or assets if they claim abuse as the grounds for divorce, for example.
In fault grounds cases, the petitioning spouse must prove his or her claim. If you claim adultery as the reason for divorce, then you must provide evidence to the court showing your spouse cheated on you. If you're unable to present sufficient evidence backing your claim, the judge will deny the divorce petition.
Spouse Unable to Consent to or Understand the Proceedings
In general, the courts require both spouses to have the presence of mind to consent to or understand the divorce proceedings. Your spouse doesn't necessarily have to agree to get divorced. However, he or she must be able to follow the case, provide testimony, and make decisions. If the person can't do that, then the court will reject the divorce petition.
Consent is primarily an issue with spouses who are mentally ill or suffering from some type of addiction that affects their mental competence. Unfortunately, in these cases, it may be necessary to either wait until the person gets his or her issue under control or ask the court to appoint a representative who will act in your spouse's steed.
Typically when judges deny a divorce, it's "without prejudice". This means people can simply file the paperwork and try again when they're more prepared. To avoid this type of issue in your case or for assistance with litigating a separation, connect with a divorce attorney near you.
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