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Can a Georgia Judge Refuse to Grant a Divorce?

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In a word - yes. In Georgia, there are 13 grounds for divorce - intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of affinity, mental incapacity, impotency, force/menace/duress/fraud,pregnancy by a moan other than the husband at the time of the marriage, adultery, desertion, conviction for an offense involving moral turpitude, habitual intoxication, cruel treatment, incurablemental illness, habitual drug addition, and marriage is irretrievably broken. OCGA §19-5-3. Believe it or not,there are also several reasons a court can refuse to grant a divorce. OCGA §19-5-4(a). These reasons include:

1. The adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, or intoxication complained of was occasioned by the collusion of the parties, with the intention of causing a divorce
2. The party complaining of the adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, or intoxication of the other party was consenting thereto
3. Both parties are guilty of like conduct
4. There has been a voluntary condonation and cohabitation subsequent to the acts complained of, with notice thereof.

Id. (1-4). In fact, under any of these circumstances, Georgia law states that no divorce shall be granted - whichmeans the court doesn't even have a choice. It has to deny the divorce. In cases that include any of the above, the respondent in the divorce action can offer such evidence in defense of thedivorce action and, after reviewing the evidence, the court or jury can refuse the divorce. OCGA §19-5-4(b).

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