How to Stop Divorce Proceedings Once They Have Been Started

By Marie Murdock

Out of anger and frustration, a husband and wife may decide to file for divorce, yet days later change their minds. Some states force a cooling-off period by refusing to allow a couple to start a divorce until they have been separated for six months -- twelve if there are minor children involved. Other states, however, may allow a couple with no children to file a complaint for uncontested divorce and receive a signed divorce decree within thirty to forty-five days. You may be be able, however, to stop the divorce proceedings before the court enters the decree.

Step 1

Contact your attorney’s office, and even if he is not available, speak with his secretary, letting her know that you have changed your mind and immediately want the divorce stopped. Make sure to leave a message for a call back from the attorney or his paralegal who may have been handling your case, to confirm receipt of your message. If you did not use an attorney, contact the clerk of the court where the paperwork was filed to inform her of your intentions. She may be able to postpone the judge’s signing the decree if she receives the call soon enough.

Step 2

File a motion to dismiss as quickly as possible. Even if you have managed to delay the process verbally, a motion to dismiss presented to the court clerk should stop the process and prevent it from continuing toward a final divorce. If you have an attorney, he will prepare this document for both you and your spouse’s signatures. Your motion may simply state that the two of you have reconciled your differences and desire to dismiss the divorce proceedings. Both you and your spouse must sign the motion of your own free will and your signatures may have to be notarized.

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Step 3

Receive the court’s signed order dismissing the case if you have successfully accomplished your goal. If you did not manage to stop the divorce prior to the court entering the final decree, most states allow parties to remarry each other without a waiting period. Some states have waiting periods of 30 days to six months before either party can contract marriage to a third party.

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Does My Husband Need My Permission to Cancel the Divorce?
 

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