The Retraction of a Divorce Filing

By Ciele Edwards

A divorce is not finalized until a judge signs off on the divorce decree and grants a final judgment in the case. Until that point, you and your spouse can opt to terminate the divorce and keep your marriage intact. The method you use to retract your divorce filing will vary depending on when and how you withdraw the petition. State laws differ with regard to the exact forms you must use and the requirements you must meet before you can retract a pending divorce.


When you file your divorce petition, you must formally serve your spouse with a copy of the petition. Your spouse then has the option to file a response to the petition or a separate divorce complaint. If your spouse has yet to file a response with the court and a judge has not already signed off on a divorce decree, you can withdraw your divorce petition. You must file a separate petition with the court noting your intent to withdraw your request for divorce and formally serve your spouse with a copy of the withdrawal notice.


If your spouse has already responded to your divorce petition, you cannot have the divorce dismissed merely by filing a separate petition. If you and your spouse decide not to proceed with the divorce, the two of you together must file a motion with the court requesting that it dismiss the pending divorce. You can do this at any point in the divorce process, provided the judge has not already signed the divorce decree. If your spouse will not sign the necessary paperwork to ensure a quick dismissal, you may petition the court to dismiss your case, but it is at the judge's discretion whether or not to do so.

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If you and your spouse are unsure about whether the two of wish to proceed with your divorce, you can petition the court to suspend your divorce case temporarily. If, during the suspension period, you and your spouse decide to stay married, you must then file paperwork with the court requesting that it dismiss the pending divorce. On the other hand, should you decide to move forward with the divorce, you do not need to file separate paperwork. The case will proceed automatically when the suspension period expires.


You and your spouse can retract your divorce proceeding at any point until the judge signs off on the divorce decree. Once the judge signs your divorce decree, the divorce is final. You cannot appeal to terminate the divorce and keep your marriage because the marriage no longer exists. You and your spouse then have the option to remarry, but you cannot retract the divorce.

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