Is it possible to put a divorce on hold?

Asked over 3 years ago - Norton, MA

My wife and I are one month from a finalized divorce, but we are considering giving our marriage another try. I have three questions related to that.

First, if we decide to give it another try and it doesn't work, is our parenting agreement still in effect if we separate?
Second, should we put the divorce on hold if we want to try again? How do we do that?
Third, how many people that put a divorce on hold still end up divorcing in the end?

My wife and I have been married for 7 years and together for 10. Our divorce has been pending for 9 months now. We both have significant others, and have 2 girls together. It has been a long divorce process with a hard custody battle, and we finally have a parenting agreement that we both are fairly comfortable with, so I don't want to make the wrong move.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Teresa M. Harkins La Vita

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . If you decide to stay together, you can look into a "marital agreement," which is an agreement between married parties who are not divorcing now but want to outline their rights and obligations in the event of an eventual divorce. This will involve stopping your divorce as others have explained above, in addition to changing the character of your draft agreement.

    The information you obtain from this Answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. This Answer is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice regarding your own situation, please consult an attorney.

  2. Richard B. Kell

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I've had many clients ask me if they can put their divorce on "hold." The answer is "Not really." You will still have to DISMISS the divorce action in order to stay married. Thus, the agreement will no longer be legally binding since it was never made final. However, you can always save a copy of it to go by if things don't work out. This could save you and your spouse time and money in any future negotiations. The percentage of people that do this and end up divorcing again is actually pretty high. These tend to be the "roller coaster" type relationships.

  3. Eric Schutzbank

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . If I am understanding you correctly, you have signed a Separation Agreement, and had it approved by the Court and a Judgment Nisi entered. If that is the case, the only way to stop it would be to file to vacate the Nisi Judgment and ask for a stay of proceeding while you attempt to reconcile with your wife.

    You could also file a Motion to make the parenting plan provisions of your Separation Agreement a Temporary Order of the Court during the period of time this is successful. If you do nothing but move to vacate the Judgment Nisi before it becomes absolute, your parenting agreement would not be in place.

    As for your third question, I cannot give you an exact number but I can tell you in my experience that such attempts at reconciliation are more often unsuccessful. You could permit the divorce to become final so that your rights are preserved and if things work out, you could get married again.

    Good luck, however you proceed.

    Disclaimer: The above answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the author of the original post and Attorney Schutzbank. It is intended for information purposes. For more information please visit my web site at berid-schutzbank.com. Good luck.

  4. Christopher Jay Harding

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . 1) Unless you dismiss the case or the court does, the parenting agreement will probably terminate on its own terms.
    2) You can normally stall a divorce case by not having anything set and telling the lawyers you do not want to set anything. Some courts do not like this, and will set dates where someone has to go and give 'good cause' as to why the Court shouldn't dismiss the case itself.
    3) Not many, but I've seen it happen. Probably 95% end up divorced. If that is what you want to do, you need to address the underlying problems, probably through marriage counseling.

    Disclaimer: This answer is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor forming the attorney-client relationship.

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