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Can Divorce Be Denied?

There are a few situations when the court might temporarily deny a divorce. Reasons for court-contested divorces include procedural mishaps, fraud, unresolved child support issues, and more. 

There are a few situations when the court might temporarily deny a divorce. Reasons for court-contested divorces include:

Procedural mishaps

A procedural mishap is the most common reason your divorce filing may be rejected. Here are some examples of procedural mishaps:

  • You may not meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in the state in which you filed.
  • You may have missed a required court form in your divorce filing.
  • You may not have appropriately served your spouse with the divorce papers.
  • You may not have provided enough details in your divorce filing about why you are dividing assets or parenting time in the manner you are.


Fraud is probably the most uncommon reason for your divorce to be denied. However, if a judge thinks you and your spouse are conspiring to obtain a divorce for your advantage, the divorce may be rejected by a judge.

At-fault divorce

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

Unresolved child support issues

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

Refusal to sign the divorce papers

Refusal to sign divorce papers will not stall your divorce for long. If your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, you can file for a contested divorce. You will be required to notify the other spouse by serving the divorce papers formally. These divorce papers include your terms relating to how you want the property divided, child support payments set-up, custodial arrangements defined, etc. If your spouse doesn’t respond or show up in court, the court can grant a default divorce, meaning that by default, you are given the divorce you want and the terms you asked for in your filing.

How to avoid divorce denials

If you are considering a divorce, it’s essential to contact an experienced, local divorce attorney who knows the laws in your area. This will help ensure that you can move through the divorce process as smoothly as possible. If you’re looking for more information about divorce, click here.

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