You Both Want to Call Off The Divorce: What Happens Next
Sometimes, parties who believe their marriage is over find renewed passion once the divorce papers have been filed. Confronted with the finality of divorce, they may realize that they can, in fact, work through their differences and preserve the marriage. Once you have started the process, however, are you locked in? Can you stop the divorce once it’s begun? Below, we explain the steps you can take to end a divorce once the process has begun. If you are dealing with divorce, call an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer for help protecting your rights, your interests, and your family.
You Can Dismiss the Case While the Divorce is Pending
If the parties agree to drop the divorce before either party files, there’s likely no legal concern. The parties can simply reconcile and resume their marriage. Once a party has filed a complaint for divorce, however, a legal case has been created. In order to call off the divorce, the parties will have to end the legal proceeding.
Voluntarily ending a legal proceeding is a relatively straightforward process. The parties will file notarized requests with the court to dismiss the complaint, stating that they have decided to reconcile. The court will then review the request and, in all probability, grant the dismissal. The divorce process will officially end, and the marriage will continue as if no papers were filed.
Your family law attorney can walk you through the process and ensure that all papers are filed appropriately so as not to accidentally keep the matter alive. Fees and costs already incurred, such as the fee for filing the complaint, will not be refunded.
The case can be voluntarily dismissed at any time after the complaint is filed until the court issues a final divorce decree. You can dismiss the case on the eve of trial, or even after both sides have presented their case and you are awaiting the court’s decision.
Some spouses find it worthwhile to enter into a reconciliation agreement when they decide to call off a divorce. A reconciliation agreement is much like a prenuptial agreement, except that it is executed during the marriage but after the couple has experienced marital troubles. The parties agree to the terms in exchange for agreeing to drop the divorce and try to make the marriage work.
A reconciliation agreement is a special type of post-nuptial agreement that lays out how the assets and debts accrued during the marriage will be distributed should the parties divorce in the future. The parties can also include other financial matters as well. As with a prenuptial agreement, a reconciliation agreement cannot be used to dictate child custody or child support, as those rights must be decided at the time of divorce and in consideration of the rights and needs of the children at that time.
New Jersey courts will generally enforce reconciliation agreements because they promote the state’s interest in preserving marriages. So long as the provisions are fair and equitable, and the impetus for the agreement is actual reconciliation (as opposed to simply agreeing to something to resolve typical marital tensions), the court will enforce appropriate provisions.
Once the Divorce Has Been Finalized
If the divorce has been finalized and the court has issued a final divorce decree, the parties are divorced. There’s no going back to the marriage as it previously existed. If the parties change their minds at that point and wish to reconcile, they will have to legally remarry.
Call a Compassionate New Jersey Divorce Attorney for Advice and Representation
If you’re considering divorce or you need assistance with New Jersey family law issues involving equitable division of property, parental rights, alimony/spousal support, child custody, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the dedicated and professional Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation.