Can You Stop a Divorce Case Once It Starts?
You and your spouse hurt each other and got on each other’s nerves for years, and then one day it all boiled over. After one big fight or one too many broken promises, you called a divorce lawyer and said everything that was on your mind. Once you got started, it was easy to see a post-divorce life with clarity. You knew which marital property you wanted to keep, and you had a plan for rebuilding your finances after divorce and for sharing parenting time with your ex-spouse. Your spouse received the divorce papers and bore the surprise stoically, or perhaps it was no surprise at all. Your spouse’s requests in the response to the divorce petition were not especially surprising either, except that your spouse was able to hire a lawyer and prepare a response so quickly. Now you are sitting in a mediator’s office with financial disclosures in hand and wondering if you are making the biggest mistake of your life. If you are considering filing for divorce, a Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you think through the process carefully.
What Happens If You Get Cold Feet About Your Divorce?
After filing for divorce, it is rare for couples to have a dramatic reconciliation like in the movies, but it is more common than you might imagine for them to have second thoughts about ending their marriage. It is possible to halt a divorce case at any stage in the process until the court issues the final decree of dissolution of marriage. If you decide that you want to pause the divorce case and make one final attempt at reconciliation, you can file a motion for abatement; this pauses the divorce case for 90 days. If, by the end of these 90 days, you want to continue with the divorce, the case picks up where it left off.
If you and your spouse are sure that you want to stay married, you must file a notice of voluntary dismissal. This cancels the divorce case, and from a legal standpoint, things go back to the way they were before you filed for divorce. If you later decide to divorce, you must start over from the beginning, with a new divorce petition.
If Not Divorce, Then What?
Your almost divorce can give you a new perspective. You and your spouse might decide that you want to stay married but don’t want to live together or be involved in each other’s day-to-day financial decisions. In this case, a legal separation might be right for you. Conversely, you might decide that you want to continue living together as a family but that something needs to be done about the financial disagreements that have been causing so much conflict. In that case, you might want to formalize the decisions you have made during divorce mediation in a postnuptial agreement, where you declare certain assets to be the separate property of one spouse or the other.
Contact Schwartz | White About Divorce-Related Ambivalence
A South Florida family law attorney can help you if you are considering divorce, but you still aren’t quite sure. Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.