How to Stop a Divorce

divorce reconciling

Usually, once someone takes the step of actually filing for divorce, they follow the process through to the end. However, there are a number of reasons why someone may change their mind about divorce after filing. If you have filed for divorce, and now want to stop the proceedings and remain married to your spouse, here’s what you need to know.

Have you completed the final steps in the divorce process?

The answer is very state specific. If no, it may not be necessary to file anything additional to prevent the divorce from going forward. For example, in Pennsylvania, certain affidavits and waivers must be filed within a very limited timeline to complete the divorce process. If they aren’t filed, the judge cannot sign the Decree to finalize the divorce and will eventually dismiss the case if no additional action is taken. In a state like California, where the Final Judgment dissolving the marriage can be filed months before the mandatory six months waiting period has run, it is important to take action by filing a Request for Dismissal (Form CIV-110) and Notice of Entry of Dismissal (Form CIV-120) along with the Proof of Service. Otherwise, it is likely that the divorce will proceed, and you will receive notice that you are divorced once the allotted time period has passed.

Which documents do I need to file to stop the case?

The exact name of the documents needed varies by state, but generally, the spouse who filed for divorce will file a Motion to Dismiss or a Notice of Nonsuit/Notice of Voluntary Dismissal. If the divorce filing was joint (simplified) with the petition or complaint signed by both spouses, the Motion to Dismiss will need to be signed by both spouses. In a divorce where only one person signed the petition or complaint, only that person, known as the Petitioner or Plaintiff, needs to file a motion. Unlike with a joint divorce filing, when only one spouse files for divorce, it will be necessary to serve the other spouse, known as the Respondent or Defendant, with a copy of the motion. It may also be necessary to file a Certificate of Service with the Clerk.

In some states, you may also need to prepare an Order of Dismissal for the Judge. It is important that the Order states that the dismissal is “without prejudice,” which means that you can re-open the case later if you decide to proceed with the divorce.

File the original of each required document as well as two copies of each. One of those copies will be used to notify the other spouse that the Petitioner has requested that the judge stop the divorce. State-specific information about stopping a divorce after it has been filed is available below.

Divorce Case Dismissal Forms
AlabamaAlabama Voluntary Dismissal Rules
CaliforniaCalifornia Self-Help Dismissal
FloridaFlorida Notice of Voluntary Dismissal
GeorgiaGeorgia Notice of Voluntary Dismissal
MassachusettsMassachusetts Dismissal of Action Rules
MarylandMaryland Motion to Dismiss
MichiganMichigan MC 09
New JerseyNew Jersey Dismissal of Action Rules
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Withdrawing Divorce Complaint
TexasTexas Notice of Nonsuit
Texas Order Granting Nonsuit
WashingtonWashington Motion and Order