Is it really possible to prevent a divorce from taking place? In theory, yes. You can give your reasons why the divorce should not take place. Of course, this does not work in a divorce which was filed on the grounds that there has been an irreconcilable difference in the marriage in which case, divorce is usually justified and granted.
Where one spouse claims that the other spouse has committed things which form the grounds of a Fault Divorce, then the said claim is subject to proof and this is where the spouse who is not willing to be divorced may then defend the petition. For instance, where the ground for divorce is adultery, the complaining party would have to prove that adultery took place. If adultery is not proven, divorce does not take place. If adultery is proven but it is also proven that the adultery was condoned by the party who filed for divorce, this may be a ground to defeat the petition.
In some scenarios not unlike Hollywood movies, connivance is pleaded by the party who contests the divorce. The party who contests the divorce pleads that the ground so complained of was actually set up by the party who is petitioning for a divorce. For instance, the wife sets up her husband in a compromising situation with another woman knowing full well that adultery might take place. It is not easy to argue connivance but it is not impossible and it depends on a case by case basis.
In some situations, provocation is used as a defence to argue that the marriage should not be dissolved. In provocation, it is alleged that the other party was the chief cause of the situation complained of in the divorce petition. For instance, the wife might be such an unreasonable person at home that the husband could not tolerate living under the same roof as her and decides to stay with his colleague instead. At that, the wife claims that the husband has abandoned her and the family. The Court will then inquire to see whether the abandonment was due to the wife’s provocation.
That said, the above defenses do not usually work and are rarely advised by attorneys. Firstly, such defenses can result in protracted litigation and involves a lot of time and costs. Witnesses may be required to prove the defense and they will be subject to much cross-examination. All in all, it is likely that Courts would not order that the divorce petition be dismissed. It is all too important to appreciate that when one party decides to call it quits, reconciliation is usually difficult. It is thus better to just move on.