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Can a Divorce Be Denied in Georgia?

by Sharon Jackson  on March 15, 2024 under 

Yes, in a few cases, a judge can deny granting a divorce in Georgia. If you’ve filed a fault divorce based on specific grounds, some circumstances can invalidate those grounds and lead to divorce denial. Reasons that the Georgia court may reject divorce include:

  • Collusion between the spouses
  • Consent of the complaining spouse
  • Guilt of similar conduct
  • Condonation from the complaining spouse.

Here, we discuss what these reasons mean and how they may apply to a divorce case. For smart legal advice on your particular situation, please consult with our trusted Georgia divorce attorney.

Why a Georgia Judge May Deny Divorce

Under Georgia Code 19-5-4, a divorce cannot be granted if any of these circumstances exist:


In the divorce context, collusion refers to cooperation between the two spouses to deceitfully obtain the divorce. An example is if the couple lied to the court about the alleged adultery, cruel treatment, desertion, or intoxication so they could have grounds to terminate their marriage.

Consent (also known as Connivance)

If the grounds for divorce action is adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, or intoxication, the complainant (spouse who seeks a divorce) must not have consented to those behaviors. For instance, if you allege that your spouse deserted you, ensure that you did not give them your approval to leave the home when they did.

Guilt of Like Conduct (also known as Recrimination)

When a spouse files for divorce based on any misconduct by their husband or wife, the filing spouse must not be guilty of similar conduct. If they’re found to have engaged in similar wrongdoing, the court will not grant the divorce.


This means voluntary forgiveness of misconduct. A judge cannot grant a divorce if the complaining spouse has forgiven the alleged conduct of their misbehaving spouse and continues to cohabitate with them after the alleged conduct.

Note that condonation is not the same as consent. Consent means you agreed to the conduct at the time it was being done, while condonation means you forgave your spouse after their misconduct.

Other Reasons a Judge May Refuse to Grant a Divorce in Georgia

Apart from the four divorce bars stated in Georgia Code 19-5-4, the following are potential reasons the court may refuse a divorce petition:

Incurable mental illness

If this is the grounds for divorce filing, the complainant must show that the other party truly has mental illness. Otherwise, the divorce cannot be granted on this basis. Georgia law has several requirements before a spouse can be deemed mentally ill. First of these is that the person must have been adjudged mentally ill by the appropriate court or has been certified by two doctors to have mental illness.

Prior existing marriage

The court cannot grant a divorce if one spouse is still legally bound by a previous undissolved marriage. This means the current marriage is void. If you’re the divorce petitioner and it turns out your spouse is still legally married to another person, you may find it difficult to assert your marital or spousal rights. An attorney’s help is crucial in this scenario.

What Happens If a Judge Denies Divorce in GA?

If the judge refuses to grant your petition for divorce and you still would like to dissolve the marriage, you may look into the possibility of re-filing. This time, consider whether you should file a fault or no-fault divorce. Consult a knowledgeable divorce lawyer to see if you can refile and how best to proceed.

Some couples find that reconciliation may be possible if they can resolve their divorce issues. If this is your case, it may be helpful for you and your spouse to undergo mediation or a similar method of dispute resolution.

If you have any concerns about your legal rights and entitlements, the welfare of your children, or how to navigate the divorce process, it’s best to get the guidance of a divorce attorney.

Should You Get a Fault Divorce or No-Fault Divorce in GA?

You’ll notice that most of the bars to divorce listed above apply to fault divorce, where one spouse cites misconduct on the part of the other spouse. Does this mean that a fault divorce is not ideal? The answer depends on your situation and what you hope to achieve when your marriage officially ends. A fault divorce offers certain advantages such as:

  • Potentially favorable judgment towards you in matters of property division and spousal support (alimony)
  • Addressing the specific issue that caused the marriage breakdown
  • Helping you find emotional closure in a non-ambiguous way.

On the other hand, in a no-fault divorce in Georgia, you don’t need to prove any wrongdoing during your marriage. You simply declare in your filing that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Because of this, no-fault divorces – especially uncontested ones – are usually faster and cheaper than fault divorces.

To determine which divorce type is best for you, and to identify the most suitable grounds for divorce in Georgia, don’t hesitate to discuss with a reliable Family Law attorney.

Contact an Experienced Georgia Divorce Attorney

Whether you need assistance in initiating a divorce or ensuring the court does not deny your complaint for divorce, reach out to Attorney Sharon Jackson. For nearly 20 years, she has helped numerous spouses in Georgia achieve the smoothest, most efficient divorce proceeding possible, with favorable results. Schedule your confidential consultation. Call Attorney Sharon Jackson at (678) 909-4100 today.


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