Can You Back Out of Divorce If You Already Filed?

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A divorce, like a marriage, can seem like a good idea one minute but a bad idea the next. If you filed a divorce petition and now regret it, you may be able to do an about-face without too much trouble, depending upon what stage in the proceedings you realize your mistake.

Dismissal Before Response

After you file a petition for divorce, your next step in the process is to arrange for the divorce papers to be served on your spouse, who has 30 days in which to reply. If you change your mind about the divorce at any point before your spouse files response papers with the court, in most jurisdictions, you are allowed to dismiss the case.

Dismissal With Spouse's Consent

After your spouse has filed response papers, the petitioner no longer has an automatic right to dismiss the divorce. But winning a dismissal is not difficult, if your spouse also wants to give the marriage another try. Generally, a court grants a dismissal when both spouses agree to end the case.

 

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About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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