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In certain situations, a person who files for divorce from their spouse changes their mind. They wish to withdraw their divorce petition. If you are the spouse who received the divorce papers rather than filing them, you may not have any power to stop the proceedings. It’s possible to contest a divorce, but in most cases, a court will not force an unwilling person to remain in a marriage.
Timing the Process
When you’re sure you want the divorce proceedings to stop, it’s important to keep in mind your request’s timing. A request to withdraw the paperwork will be viewed differently depending on how far along the proceedings are. If the court hasn’t yet issued a judgment, it’s relatively simple for the parties to make the process stop. Divorces are easier to stop in the earlier stages of the proceedings.
If you are the spouse who initially served the divorce papers, you will need to go to the office of your court clerk. There, you’ll fill out a Notice of Revocation. Depending on which court you’re working in, the notice might have a slightly different name. The clerk is an expert in different paperwork and will direct you to the right document.
You must fill out ever portion of the document. When you return the document to the court clerk, they’ll receive an official stamp indicating they have been authorized.
Consent of the Spouse
If the divorce proceedings have been in the works for some time and are close to a conclusion, the court may decide that the other spouse must consent to stopping the divorce. Oftentimes, by this point in the process, the other spouse has come to terms with the divorce and does not wish to resume domestic life.
When the court requires spousal consent, you’ll need to serve a copy of your dismissal notice to your spouse. The court itself might serve the papers. Unlike with the initial divorce proceedings, the notice doesn’t need to be delivered by a sheriff or process server.
There are a few potential complications that could arise when you’re trying to stop divorce proceedings.
One situation is when the other spouse wishes for the divorce proceedings to continue. If they do not want to remain married, the court will usually not force them to.
Another less common situation involves a spouse faking a stopped divorce to delay the proceedings. There are a number of reasons why someone might do this. It’s a manipulative tactic that tends to be highly frowned upon by the courts.
The third scenario occurs when there are reasonable safety concerns for one of the spouses. This tends to happen in cases where the couple has a history of domestic violence and abuse.
Not only is filing a fraudulent motion to stop the divorce frowned upon, it’s illegal. If you pretend that you’ve filed a notice, or you file a notice but then open your divorce proceedings again, you might find yourself charged with criminal behavior. Divorce fraud is a crime that can end in criminal charges or being held in contempt of court.
There are some cases in which a spouse will answer a person’s divorce petition by presenting their own counterclaims. Counterclaims are petitions for divorce filed in response to the spousal petition to stop the proceedings. If a counterclaim is filed, it indicates that your spouse does not wish to be in the marriage any longer. This means that stopping the divorce by yourself may be impossible. Your spouse must file their own petition to stop your divorce proceedings, or your divorce will be finalized.
Treatment of Property
Either side might gain property throughout the proceeding. This property can then be considered a marriage asset. When couples were separated after or before the divorce petition, property division might be complicated. One spouse might want property to continue being separated from the marriage.
After Finalizing the Divorce
Sometimes people wait too long to stop divorce proceedings. This leads to increased complications. If your judge has already made a ruling in the case, it might be necessary to file more court motions to stop the judge’s ruling from going into effect.
Certain judges might require that a couple receive counseling or mediation before their divorce petition is granted. Mediation is a common method in divorces, as it tends to be much easier than going to trial.