Cancelling a Divorce in Mediation

By Ciele Edwards

Divorcing couples sometimes attempt to save money on attorney fees by hiring a professional mediator to help them negotiate a divorce settlement. Mediation requires both marriage partners to communicate as they work to resolve issues such as property division and child custody. If the couple decides to reconcile in the course of mediation, they can “cancel” the pending divorce by asking the court to dismiss their divorce petition.

Divorcing couples sometimes attempt to save money on attorney fees by hiring a professional mediator to help them negotiate a divorce settlement. Mediation requires both marriage partners to communicate as they work to resolve issues such as property division and child custody. If the couple decides to reconcile in the course of mediation, they can “cancel” the pending divorce by asking the court to dismiss their divorce petition.

Dismissing a Divorce

During mediation, if you and your spouse decide to reconcile, you can call off the divorce by requesting that the court dismiss your divorce petition. Both parties must sign the request, and the motion must be filed at the same courthouse where the divorce petition was filed. Filing the dismissal request quickly is crucial if you decide that you want to stay married – once the judge signs the final divorce decree, your marriage is terminated.

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Suspending a Divorce

If mediation leaves you thinking twice about the divorce but you are unsure of whether reconciliation is the right course of action, suspending your divorce is more appropriate than having it dismissed. When the court suspends your divorce, it puts your case on hold for a specified amount of time. If you ultimately decide during that time that you want to continue with the divorce, you simply wait until the suspension period expires and your divorce case will resume. On the other hand, if you decide to withdraw the divorce action, you can file a dismissal request at any time during the suspension period.

Professional Counseling

If you and your spouse were on the brink of divorce but you re-established an open channel of communication during the mediation process, it’s possible that marriage counseling could help you rebuild your relationship and avoid divorce in the future. The Dartmouth College Healthy Exchange newsletter observes that marriage counseling can help spouses learn to argue in a healthier manner, express and negotiate needs more effectively and resolve conflicts.

Mediation Fees

If you signed an agreement with your mediator or agreed to pay a set fee for her service, she can hold you to any prior arrangements, even if reconciliation makes divorce mediation unnecessary. For example, if you and your spouse agreed to attend a certain number of mediation sessions, your mediator may charge you for those sessions, even if you and your spouse don't attend.

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How to Put My Divorce on Hold

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Options Besides Divorce

As the song goes, breaking up is so very hard to do. Divorce can be financially and emotionally devastating, but it is not the only option when a marriage flounders. Whether you believe you might save your marriage or your marriage is broken beyond repair, there are alternatives to divorce. To save a marriage, you can try counseling or mediation. To avoid a divorce but go your separate ways, you can opt for a trial separation, legal separation or a "non-divorce," sometimes known as a parallel marriage.

Can Someone Refuse to Get Divorced in Illinois?

Spouses often divorce because they cannot seem to get along, and sometimes that struggle carries over into the divorce process. In Illinois, one spouse can make the divorce process more difficult by disputing many steps along the way. However, though a spouse who opposes a divorce can make it take longer and cost more, he cannot actually prevent it from happening if the other spouse is determined to divorce.

What Do You Tell the Court if You & Your Spouse Don't Want a Divorce Anymore?

When you take legal steps to end your marriage, you invite the court into your personal life. However, all states recognize no-fault divorce so you don't have to air your dirty laundry if you file your petition or complaint on no-fault grounds. The same applies to stopping your divorce proceedings if you change your mind about breaking up. You do not have to go into intimate detail when you ask the court to either postpone or dismiss your case.

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