Divorce Process: Can a Court Deny a Divorce?
Many states in the nation have enacted “no-fault” divorce laws that allow two parties to divorce one another upon a finding of “irreconcilable differences.” In most cases, a finding can be made based on the testimony of one of the spouses that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be salvaged. Often, a finding of “irreconcilable differences” can be made even if one of the spouses objects to the divorce. But in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, one Tennessee judge made national headlines when he denied a straight couple’s divorce petition after finding that he needed the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and decide “when a marriage is no longer a marriage.”
Denials of Divorce Occur Infrequently
It should be some relief to know that, despite this judge’s ruling, his line of reasoning does not appear to be gaining much traction across the nation. In fact, it is quite unusual for a court to deny a divorce petition, even where one of the spouses is objecting to the divorce decree. This is not to say that an Illinois divorce is automatically granted, however. There are three situations in which your divorce petition may be denied and dismissed by the court:
- You fail to prove the alleged grounds for divorce. Illinois currently has several “fault-based” grounds for divorce such as adultery. If your divorce petition seeks a decree of divorce because of one of these “fault-based” reasons, you must prove that that particular reason exists. If you fail to do so, your petition may be dismissed.
- You fail to provide proper notification to the other party. If you appear in court requesting a divorce but have not properly notified the other party as required by law, your case may be delayed or dismissed. Properly notifying the other party is an important step in obtaining a divorce as it assures the court that your spouse has been notified of your petition and given an appropriate amount of time to respond if he or she chooses to do so.
- You miss important deadlines set by the court. If your case languishes for months or years without either party taking any action, the court has the discretion to dismiss the case. Before doing so, the court will typically attempt to reach out to the parties to determine the status of the case and whether there is any reason why the case should not be dismissed.
Good News for Divorcing Couples in DuPage County
The good news is that a court will usually dismiss a divorce proceeding “without prejudice,” giving you the opportunity to refile your case and present your petition again.
Hiring an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help prevent dismissals of your divorce petition in the first place, saving you time and money. We carefully review the facts and circumstances of your case and ensure your petition is filed and presented properly and the other party is properly notified. Learn how we can help you in your DuPage County divorce case by calling us at 630-871-1002 or contacting us online.