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Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 12:32 am
Making the decision to end your marriage is never easy. Even after taking the difficult step of filing for divorce, you may find yourself having second thoughts. So what happens if you change your mind and want to stop the divorce after submitting paperwork to the court?The short answer is – it depends. There are a few factors to consider, including who filed for divorce, what forms have already been submitted, and whether you and your spouse are in agreement about stopping the proceedings. This article will walk through the key things to know if you are exploring whether it’s possible to halt a divorce that is already in progress.
Before diving into the legalities, it can be helpful to understand why a couple may have a change of heart after starting the divorce process. Some common reasons include:
No matter the reasons, if both spouses agree that they want to halt the divorce proceedings, it is often possible if acted on quickly. However, if one spouse wants to stop the divorce and the other does not, terminating the process becomes much more difficult.
If you and your spouse are on the same page about stopping the divorce, here are the typical next steps:
The spouse who originally filed the paperwork to start the divorce (known as the petitioner) must take formal legal action to withdraw the petition. This is typically done by filing a document called a Motion to Dismiss or Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. The form needs to be submitted to the same court that is handling the divorce case.Specific requirements vary by state, so it’s important to check local laws. Consulting with a divorce attorney can help ensure you complete this step properly.
In most cases, the spouse who did not file the initial divorce petition (the respondent) must receive formal notice that the case is being dismissed. The petitioner usually must serve the respondent with a copy of the request for dismissal.Some states also require the petitioner to file an additional “proof of service” document with the court showing that the respondent was properly notified.
Depending on the circumstances and local laws, a hearing may be required before the judge will dismiss the divorce case. This is more likely if the divorce is further along or if the respondent objects to halting the proceedings.If a hearing occurs, both spouses will need to attend and provide testimony about their desire to stop the divorce. The judge will ultimately decide if dismissal is appropriate.
If you successfully stop the divorce, the next step is to start repairing your relationship and addressing any issues that led to the filing. This takes commitment, compromise, and effort from both individuals.Marriage counseling or therapy is often helpful when reconciling after initiating divorce. Working with a neutral third party provides tools to improve communication, increase understanding, and strengthen your bond.
The process gets more complicated if you change your mind about the divorce but your spouse remains committed to ending the marriage. Some key questions to consider:
Technically, a divorce is not finalized until a judge signs the final divorce decree. Up until this point, it is possible for the spouses to change their minds and request dismissal – if both parties agree.However, the closer you get to a final decree, the harder it becomes to halt the proceedings. Once the judge formally enters a divorce judgment, reversing course becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible.Some other key finality points that make stopping the divorce unlikely include:
If your divorce case has already reached the point of no return, you cannot simply call it off. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of options if you are having regrets. Some alternatives to explore include:
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