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Is it possible to stop a divorce proceeding? The shortest answer is yes, provided you take action fast enough following your divorce petition. Court systems are not built to encourage the failure of a marriage. If you change your mind about getting divorced, the court won’t force you to go through with the proceeding. Of course, there is some nuance to the situation. Everyone’s circumstances are slightly different.
If you’re the one who filed for divorce, but you change your mind and want to reconcile your marriage instead, you can utilize a few options to stop the proceedings. However, if you aren’t the person who filed for divorce, you don’t have any power to stop the proceedings. The only thing you can do is try to talk to your spouse about trying again. Ultimately, the decision to stop a divorce proceeding is in the hands of the person who filed the papers.
In most cases, the best solution is to work out the issues in your marriage. If you believe reconciliation is possible, you should pursue that avenue before doing something as permanent as divorce. Because courts encourage reconciliation, you have legal channels if you change your mind about a divorce.
It’s easier to stop divorce proceedings early in the process. However, in rare circumstances, you might be able to stop a late-stage proceeding. A divorce is never final until the finalized agreement is given to you by the judge.
Get in Contact with the Court Clerk
You should return to the place where the divorce paperwork was filed. The paperwork should have been filed in the county clerk’s office of the county where you reside. You’ll need to talk to the clerk. Marriage and divorce laws differ from state to state, so your options will vary depending on where you live.
In most cases, you’ll be able to cancel your filed paperwork if it isn’t too late following the filing. This can save the clerk a lot of hassle, and it can also save your marriage. If it’s early enough, your spouse may not even know that you filed to start the proceedings.
You might not get to the clerk fast enough. If the divorce papers were filed some time ago, there may be more complexity in stopping the process. Even if you’re too late, the clerk should still be able to tell you what steps you need to take to stop the divorce.
One thing you might need to do is file a new petition to stop your divorce. With divorce proceedings that are far enough along to involve the other spouse, your spouse must consent to stopping the divorce. If your spouse doesn’t give permission, you won’t be able to stop it.
If you received the divorce papers rather than filing them, there is no paperwork you can file to force the proceeding to stop.
File Any Necessary Paperwork
A divorce involves a great deal of paperwork. You’ll find yourself filling out endless forms prior to the finalization. All the paperwork must be given to your spouse and the court. Depending on the circumstances, you might be required to write a letter that explains why you want to stop the proceeding. You have to file it with the Clerk of Court.
This letter is legally called a dismissal. Every involved party needs to have a copy of the letter to have it be legally binding. In the majority of states, you can give the information personally to your spouse. A process server or sheriff isn’t necessary. However, you do need to provide proof that your spouse was served if you want the case to be officially dismissed.
Sometimes people have a change of heart much further into the divorce process. If you’re already involved in negotiations, court hearings, and asset divisions, stopping the divorce becomes more complex. The judge will usually work with you if you express a desire to heal your marriage, though. You can ask the judge or your attorney how much time you have to reverse your decision.
It’s important to have an experienced divorce attorney behind you. If you decide you want to stop your divorce, your attorney will help you go through the steps of the process. They can advocate for you to the judge. They may also advocate to your spouse’s lawyer, who can in turn pass on any important messages. Your attorney’s job is to represent your interests. If you want to reconcile your marriage, they’ll help.