Can We Stop our Divorce if We’ve Changed our Minds?
If you and your spouse are in the process of a divorce, and the two of you have changed your minds and do not want to go through with the divorce, then there ways to stop the process if it hasn’t gone too far.
When a married couple decides to reconcile after filing for a divorce, the couple may be able to stop the divorce from proceeding by asking a judge to dismiss the divorce. In many cases, couples can ask for a dismissal from the county clerk before a final judgment has been ruled in court. The petitioner, which is the spouse that filed the petition for a divorce, can file a dismissal on his or her own, but both spouses are required to sign the form.
At any point in the divorce proceedings, which is before a judge rules on the final divorce decree, a petitioner can petition the court to file a motion to dismiss the divorce. Each jurisdiction has unique processes for filing these types of motions, which could include a form that needs to be completed or a letter stating the couple wishes to cancel the divorce.
It is important for the petitioner to make sure his or her spouse did not respond to the divorce petition. If the spouse did not file any documents or counterclaims, then the petitioner may make a request to withdraw the petition. If the respondent filed a counterclaim, then the divorce will proceed unless the respondent also withdraws his or her counterclaims.
With jurisdictions that require couples use forms to withdraw a divorce, the petitioner must state that both parties are in agreement to stop the divorce proceedings. The respondent, which is the spouse who has been served a petition for a divorce, does not have any legal authority to stop a divorce without the consent of the petitioner. The respondent may only file a counterclaim as defense during the proceedings. In the case that both spouses want to stop the divorce from proceeding, then the petitioner is the one who will need to take steps to stop the divorce.
In most states, there is a mandatory waiting period from when the petitioner filed for a divorce to the finalization of the divorce. The waiting period is to ensure couples want a divorce. It is during this waiting period when couples usually reconcile and stop a divorce from proceeding. Once a couple decides to stop a divorce from proceeding, they will have to restart the process over if they decide to get divorced again.
Once a judge issues the final decree, it is too late to stop a divorce. At this point, the divorce is final and the couple is no longer married. If the couple decides they want want to stay together, then they can remarry. For those who want to rescind a marital settlement after it has been decreed, they could file a motion with the court, which would ask to have the divorce reopened. However, courts will rarely adhere to this request. In these circumstances, courts will only reopen a case if one spouse lied during the divorce proceedings. At this point, asking to reopen a case because a couple changed their minds will not suffice.
A divorce is a life changing process, which will have an impact on both parties and their children. During the separation period, if you and your spouse decide to reconcile, then be sure to take the necessary steps to stop the proceedings before it is too late. Need more help? Speak to one of our Manhattan divorce attorneys today.