Can You Back Out of Divorce If You Already Filed?

By Teo Spengler

A divorce, like a marriage, can seem like a good idea one minute but a bad idea the next. If you filed a divorce petition and now regret it, you may be able to do an about-face without too much trouble, depending upon what stage in the proceedings you realize your mistake.

A divorce, like a marriage, can seem like a good idea one minute but a bad idea the next. If you filed a divorce petition and now regret it, you may be able to do an about-face without too much trouble, depending upon what stage in the proceedings you realize your mistake.

Dismissal Before Response

After you file a petition for divorce, your next step in the process is to arrange for the divorce papers to be served on your spouse, who has 30 days in which to reply. If you change your mind about the divorce at any point before your spouse files response papers with the court, in most jurisdictions, you are allowed to dismiss the case.

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Dismissal With Spouse's Consent

After your spouse has filed response papers, the petitioner no longer has an automatic right to dismiss the divorce. But winning a dismissal is not difficult, if your spouse also wants to give the marriage another try. Generally, a court grants a dismissal when both spouses agree to end the case.

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Can Divorce Papers Be Rescinded Once Signed?

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How to Represent Yourself in a Dissolution

How you represent yourself in a dissolution depends in part on your marital circumstances. If you and your spouse agree on the divorce, you can file an uncontested divorce together. In some cases, you may not even need to go to court. If you and your spouse disagree on the divorce, you will likely file for a contested divorce. When your divorce involves children, child custody and child support issues may complicate your case.

How to Stop a Divorce After the Papers Have Been Filed

If you’re not the spouse who filed for divorce, you probably can’t stop the process. You can contest the grounds your spouse cites in her divorce petition and you can argue custody and property settlement, but no state will force her to remain married to you if she doesn’t want to. If you filed the divorce petition, however, you can usually stop the process, especially if you change your mind early in the proceedings.

Does My Husband Need My Permission to Cancel the Divorce?

Both spouses do not have to consent to a divorce for the court to grant one. All states recognize no-fault divorce, which means that if one spouse wants to end the marriage, there is nothing the other spouse can do to prevent it from happening. If your husband changes his mind and wants to stop the divorce after he’s begun it, he does not need your consent. However, you can still divorce. Your options for proceeding with the divorce vary depending on the papers each of you filed.

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