The process for how to stop a divorce after filing depends mostly on the intentions of both parties.  The first thing you should understand is that both parties need to agree that they are stopping the divorce.  If only one party wishes to stop the divorce process, it will be very difficult to achieve, especially if the divorce is being filed under no-fault divorce laws.

Secondly, the ability to stop a divorce after the papers have already been filed depends on the timing of the request.  The general rule is that if a judgment has not already been issued, the parties may stop the divorce upon mutual agreement.  It will usually be easier to do this the earlier it is in the process. 

What’s the Process for How to Stop a Divorce after Filing?

In order to stop divorce proceedings that have already begun, the couple needs to file a request to withdraw their divorce petition.  This is sometimes called a “Notice of Revocation”, though it may be called by different names depending on the jurisdiction.  This may also involve other filing fees and court costs. 

Before the request to withdraw is granted, the couple may be required to undergo counseling or mediation to ensure that their decision is mutual and based on sound agreement.  Again, the court will usually proceed with the divorce hearings if one partner doesn’t intend to withdraw the filing.

What Happens to Property That Was Acquired During the Divorce Proceeding?

Once the withdrawal is finalized, the divorce proceedings are terminated, and the couple retains their status as legally married.  Any property that was acquired during the divorce proceedings will usually remain community property, since the divorce was not yet finalized.

However, this can get complicated, especially if the couple was separated before or during the divorce process.  In some areas, property that is acquired during periods of separation may be classified as separate property rather than marital property.  If the couple reconciles and is considered legally married again, they may need to reclassify their property as community property if they desire.

What are Some Issues Related to Stopping a Divorce?

A couple that has already filed for divorce may encounter some obstacles if they wish to stop the divorce hearings.  These can include:

  • One spouse changes their mind and wants to continue with the divorce
  • There are issues with safety or health (such as abuse or neglect, especially where children are involved)
  • One couple was only “pretending” to stop the divorce in order to delay the divorce process

Regarding the last point, falsely attempting to stop a divorce may be considered divorce fraud depending on the facts of the circumstances.  A party that does this may face legal consequences, such as contempt of court or even criminal charges. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Advice on How to Stop a Divorce After Filing?

You may wish to contact a divorce lawyer if you need assistance with stopping after papers have already been filed.  As you can tell, there may be several issues that arise in connection with a request to withdraw a divorce petition.  The issues involving property usually present difficulties that require the advice and representation of a lawyer.  A qualified family lawyer in your area will be able to advise you on how to proceed.