Is It Possible to Halt a Divorce Case?
Pressures, issues, and concerns that push a person to file for divorce vary widely, and there is no way to know what final event will push someone to this step in every situation. For the sake of avoiding unnecessary conflict, hopefully, the other spouse is aware of this possibility and willing to agree, or at least accept, this outcome. If the other spouse is not interested in divorce, or if the couple is unsure if this is the route they want to follow, but want to hedge their bets by filing anyway, the likelihood they will want to know about the possibility of halting this process is quite high. While courts are willing to grant divorces if the proper grounds and other requirements are presented, if it is possible to avoid finalizing the divorce, they will. However, whether it is possible to stop the divorce process depends upon the circumstances of the case, and how far into the process a petition is. A discussion of when and how a divorce case can be stopped will follow below.
One Spouse Does Not Want the Divorce
Pennsylvania has both fault- and no-fault- based divorce, which offers spouses several options to end the marriage. If the spouse petitioning for divorce meets all the legal requirements, the other spouse may not have the ability to stop the marriage from ending. For fault-based cases, unless the other spouse can show the petitioning spouse did not present sufficient evidence to establish the alleged misconduct or the petitioning spouse is not “innocent and injured,” the case will proceed and the divorce will be granted. For no-fault divorce, the spouse against the dissolution would need to show the couple has not lived apart for at least two years or that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. The facts of each case will determine how best to contest a divorce petition.
Both Spouses Want to Halt the Case
Filing for a divorce starts a process that cannot be stopped once it reaches a certain point. Thus, spouses who are unsure whether they truly want to go through with the divorce, should consider waiting and attempting to reconcile until a firm decision is made. However, if a case is filed but the couple later changes their mind, an attorney for the person who filed can submit a motion to dismiss with the court, which will be granted provided the case has not advanced too far. The nearer a case is to the conclusion, the harder it will be to halt its completion. If a settlement has been made and submitted, a motion to not consider the settlement must be filed as soon as possible. Once the judge approves the settlement, the divorce is typically issued simultaneously, and cannot be retracted at that point. However, if the decree was issued, but less than 30 days have elapsed, the parties could ask the judge to reverse the order. If more than 30 have passed, or the judge refuses, the couple will have to remarry to reassume the status of a legally married couple.
Speak to a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney
Divorce may not be the result spouses want to occur, and if you have questions about challenging a divorce, talk to a divorce attorney today. The longer you wait to take action to stop a case, the more likely the dissolution will be final. The attorneys at Barbara Flum Stein & Associates understand the pressures of this process, and can advise you on your options. Contact the Delaware County divorce firm at (610) 565-6100 to schedule a consultation.