Can You Refuse to Give Your Spouse a Divorce in Georgia?

By Heather Frances J.D.

Your spouse may file for divorce, believing the marriage is over, but even if you aren’t ready to divorce just yet, it’s really not possible to refuse to divorce your spouse in any state, including Georgia. You can slow down the divorce process, but eventually the divorce will go through, even if your spouse has to refile the case to make it happen.

Grounds

Georgia offers both fault-based and no-fault reasons -- or grounds -- for divorce. Fault-based grounds require the filing spouse to prove to the court that the grounds exist. For example, if your spouse files for divorce based on adultery, she must prove that you committed adultery. If she does not provide enough evidence, or if you successfully dispute her evidence, the court may dismiss the divorce case for lack of proof. However, she can refile her case based on the no-fault ground of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which does not require significant proof.

Service of Process

Generally, your spouse must serve you with a copy of the complaint she filed with the court, and the court will not allow the case to go forward without proper service. You can attempt to dodge service by avoiding the process server or sheriff who comes to give you the papers. However, eventually, they will probably be able to serve you. Even if you successfully dodge service, Georgia law allows an alternate method of service -- by publishing notice in the newspaper -- so the divorce will eventually proceed.

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Residency

Georgia law requires either you or your spouse to have been a resident for at least six months before your spouse files her complaint. If this residency requirement was not met, you can raise this issue to the court, and the court may dismiss the case. However, this won’t stop the divorce either since your spouse could file again when either of you has lived in Georgia for the required six months.

Contesting Divorce Terms

You can also contest the terms your spouse proposed in her complaint, such as property division, custody and spousal support. Disagreement about these terms can slow the divorce process considerably. However, the divorce will eventually be granted once the court reaches a decision on each disputed matter.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What if My Wife in New York State Refuses to Divorce Me?
 

References

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Can a Divorce Be Denied?

Depending on your state’s laws, the state court can decline to grant your divorce, but it won’t deny a divorce simply because one spouse does not want it. To avoid denial, you must ensure that you fully comply with all of your court’s rules, and you must provide sufficient proof of whatever ground you are alleging in your divorce paperwork.

How to File for a Divorce Even When the Other Spouse Does Not Want to Sign the Papers

Only under one circumstance would you need your spouse to sign papers so you can get your divorce. You need her signature if you’re in agreement regarding the divorce and want to file a joint petition to hasten the process along. If that’s not the case, you can file a petition on your own; this would not require her signature. When you do this, your spouse has no way of stopping you or blocking your divorce from finalization.

How Long Can a Divorce Be Postponed in Indiana?

For all practical purposes, Indiana is a no-fault state. Its statutes don't include the typical fault grounds of adultery, abandonment or cruelty. If you file for divorce in this state, your only options are to use the no-fault grounds and tell the court your marriage is irretrievably broken, or your spouse is impotent, insane or convicted of a felony. If you file on grounds of irretrievable breakdown, your spouse can't stop the divorce without your consent. Under some circumstances, however, you or your spouse may be able to postpone the proceedings for a little while.

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