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Condonation is commonly a defense argument made by a person (complainant), who had previously either forgiven or ignored an act about which he/she is now legally complaining. The law governing condonation may vary state to state, but generally it is an act to forgive one’s spouse who has committed an act of wrongdoing that would constitute  grounds for divorce in a marriage. Condonation is often used as a defense to a divorce. 

According to chapter 14-05-13 of 2019 North Dakota Century Code, condonation is well defined as: the conditional forgiveness of a matrimonial offense constituting a cause of divorce. The following requirements are necessary to condonation:

  1. A knowledge on the part of the condoner of the facts constituting the cause of divorce;
  2. Reconciliation and remission of the offense by the injured party; and
  3. Restoration of the offending party to all marital rights.

Condonation implies a condition that the forgiving party must be treated with conjugal kindness. When the cause of divorce consists of a course of offensive conduct, or arises in cases of cruelty from successive acts of ill treatment, which aggregately may constitute the offense, cohabitation, or passive endurance, or conjugal kindness shall not be evidence of condonation of any of the acts constituting such cause, unless accompanied by an express agreement to condone. In such cases, condonation can be made only after the cause of divorce has become complete as to the acts complained of. A fraudulent concealment by the condonee of facts constituting a different cause of divorce from the one condoned and existing at the time of condonation avoids such condonation.   

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]