How to Stop a Divorce After the Papers Have Been Filed

By Beverly Bird

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.

Step 1

Go to the courthouse where you filed your petition for divorce and speak with the clerk. Tell her you want to stop the process and ask for the proper form you must file to achieve this. Although these forms are sometimes available on the Internet, different jurisdictions have different rules. If you confer with the court, you’ll be sure to get the right form.

Step 2

Complete the document. In most states, it is a simple one-page form that states that you are voluntarily dismissing or withdrawing your own case. You don’t owe the court an explanation for why you’ve made this decision.

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Step 3

Take the completed document and several additional copies back to the court clerk. The clerk will stamp all your copies as “filed” and return at least one to you for your records and for service on your spouse.

Step 4

Serve your spouse with a copy of your dismissal if your state requires it. Not all do. In some jurisdictions, the court will send her a copy on your behalf. In other jurisdictions, you might have to give it to her yourself or mail her a copy by certified mail. Because she’s not required to do anything in response to it or defend herself against the document you’ve filed, you generally do not have to use a sheriff or private process server to give her a copy. You usually don’t have to file proof with the court that you’ve served her, but this might vary depending on where you live.

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Can the Respondent Finalize a Divorce if the Petitioner Won't Sign?

References

Related articles

How to File for a Divorce in Colorado

Divorcing in Colorado is a relatively straightforward process. The rules are clear-cut and the courts are helpful in guiding you along the way. In most cases, only three documents are necessary for you to begin the process. You must have lived in the state for three months to be able to file in Colorado, and you have no options for fault grounds. This is a no-fault state and the court will only grant you a divorce because your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

How to File for a Divorce Even When the Other Spouse Does Not Want to Sign the Papers

Only under one circumstance would you need your spouse to sign papers so you can get your divorce. You need her signature if you’re in agreement regarding the divorce and want to file a joint petition to hasten the process along. If that’s not the case, you can file a petition on your own; this would not require her signature. When you do this, your spouse has no way of stopping you or blocking your divorce from finalization.

Do Both Parties Have to Sign the Divorce Papers?

Different kinds of divorce papers can be as numerous as the problems they address and the functions they serve. Only a few require the signatures of both spouses, and some don’t require any signatures at all. A spouse doesn’t have to agree to a divorce for it to happen. If he won’t cooperate and won’t sign a particular document, the court will usually finalize the divorce without his participation.

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