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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Can Divorce Proceedings in Arizona Be Stop by the Petitioner?



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How to Stop a Divorce From Happening

Stopping a divorce isn't so much a legal question as it is one of saving your marriage. Legally, if your spouse is intent on getting a divorce, there's usually nothing you can do to prevent it. The best you can do is buy yourself some time to try to change his mind.

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If you file for divorce and later change your mind, you can ask the court to drop the case. The legal term for this action is "dismissing" your petition for divorce before it is finalized. The procedure for dismissal will depend on your state's laws as well as your spouse's response to the request. Since filing for divorce does not change your marital status, the effect of a dismissal is simply a removal of the case from the court's docket.

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For all practical purposes, Indiana is a no-fault state. Its statutes don't include the typical fault grounds of adultery, abandonment or cruelty. If you file for divorce in this state, your only options are to use the no-fault grounds and tell the court your marriage is irretrievably broken, or your spouse is impotent, insane or convicted of a felony. If you file on grounds of irretrievable breakdown, your spouse can't stop the divorce without your consent. Under some circumstances, however, you or your spouse may be able to postpone the proceedings for a little while.

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