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Reconciliation Once a Divorce is Filed

Posted by attorney Wendy Alton

The celebrity divorce news today was that Kobe and Vanessa Bryant have reconciled and have agreed to dismiss their divorce case. This is actually a question I hear often from clients--once a divorce has been filed, can it later be dismissed? In Michigan, we have what is called "no-fault" divorce. This merely means that anyone can file for a divorce asserting that the marriage cannot be preserved with no other further reason. In the past, Michigan was a "fault" divorce state, which required that the person filing for divorce prove that the other spouse had been a fault (infidelity, abuse, abandonment, etc). Once a person files for divorce, the other spouse is served the divorce paperwork and must file an answer to the divorce complaint and/or retain an attorney to represent them. If the other spouse does not file an answer then they can be placed in default. When both spouses are represented by attorneys, or in the case where there is not a default, the only time a divorce can be dismissed is when both of the spouses agree that they want to dismiss it. That means that both spouses have to agree that they want to reconcile, and both have to either sign the dismissal or instruct their attorneys to do so. If one spouse is in default, then the spouse that filed can dismiss the divorce case without the consent of the other. This rarely happens, but is not outside the realm of possibility. When I speak with my clients, I always make sure that they understand that if they file, there may not be a chance to dismiss it if their spouse refuses to do so. If you are going to file for divorce, you should expect to see those proceedings until the end. While it is rare, I have seen clients reconcile with their spouses and have dismissed the divorce case upon both of them agreeing to do so. But again, they both must agree. Read the article on the Christian Post: " Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Call Off Divorce Proceedings: 'We Have Reconciled'"

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