Arons & Solomon | December 19, 2022 | Divorce
When a spouse files for divorce, they are confident they want to end their marriage. They want to obtain their divorce decree and move forward with their life as a single person again.
However, what happens if they change their mind? What happens if the other spouse does not want a divorce? Can either spouse stop a divorce if the paperwork has already been filed in New Jersey?
Why Would Someone Want to Stop a Divorce After the Paperwork Has Been Filed with the Court?
People change their minds about divorce for many reasons. Common reasons for wanting to stop a divorce after the paperwork has been filed include:
- A spouse changes their mind about wanting to end the marriage
- The spouses decide to remain married for their children
- The spouses agree to attend counseling and work on the issues that have brought them to the brink of divorce
- A spouse is worried about the financial repercussions of the divorce
- The spouses agree to remain married for health insurance, tax, and/or retirement benefits
- A spouse is concerned about losing property in a divorce settlement
- A spouse has strong religious or moral beliefs about divorce
Even if a spouse has a legitimate reason to remain married, the court can still grant a divorce to another spouse based on no-fault grounds.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. “Fault” is the reason for the breakup of the marriage.
New Jersey recognizes the following fault-based grounds for divorce:
- Extreme cruelty
- Domestic violence
- Some instances of imprisonment or being committed to an institution
The party seeking a fault-based divorce has the burden of proving the other spouse committed the “fault” that led to the breakup of the marriage. Proving fault for a divorce can be challenging. Therefore, many individuals choose to file for a no-fault divorce.
A no-fault divorce is based on irreconcilable differences. It only takes one spouse to claim that the irreconcilable differences have existed for at least six months to obtain a no-fault divorce. Therefore, even if the other spouse objects to the divorce, the court can grant the petitioning spouse’s request for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.
A spouse may petition the court for a divorce based on continuous separation. This ground for divorce is similar to irreconcilable differences. However, the spouses must have been separated for at least 18 months for the court to grant a divorce on the grounds of continuous separation.
Can I Stop My Divorce After I File the Paperwork with the Court?
It might be possible to stop your divorce by petitioning the court for a voluntary dismissal. If your spouse has not responded to the divorce complaint, you should be able to withdraw your divorce petition without any input from your spouse.
However, if your spouse has filed a response to the divorce complaint, your spouse must consent to dismiss the divorce action. Both spouses must sign a Stipulation of Dismissal to file with the court to stop the divorce.
If the court has granted the divorce petition, you cannot undo the divorce. You and your spouse will have to marry each other again if you want to continue the marriage.
Do I Need a Reconciliation Agreement if I Stop My Divorce in New Jersey?
If you decide to stop a divorce for any reason, you should consider entering a reconciliation agreement with your spouse. A reconciliation agreement is similar to a post-nuptial agreement.
You and your spouse agree to work on your marriage instead of seeking a divorce. However, you also agree on how to divide assets and debts should one of you go through with the divorce. You can put a time limit on the reconciliation agreement or leave it open-ended.
A reconciliation agreement can save time and money if you decide to divorce your spouse later. The agreement binds both parties to the terms they negotiated when they decided to stop the divorce. Therefore, you can avoid litigation over property division because that matter is settled.
Do Not Ignore Divorce Papers Filed by Your Spouse
You might not care whether your spouse obtains a divorce, especially if you are ready to return to being single. However, you should not ignore divorce papers when they are served on you.
If you do not respond to the divorce complaint, the court might grant your spouse’s demands for property division, child custody, and spousal support. The best way to protect your rights is to seek legal advice from a Bergen County divorce lawyer immediately after being served with divorce papers.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.