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Can you pause a divorce after it has started?

Can you pause a divorce after it has started?

A divorce is an emotional and challenging process that isn’t always predictable. Even after you’ve started the divorce, you may decide that you want time to reconsider your decision before it’s finalized. This blog post will help you understand your options within Minnesota law when it comes to pausing, slowing down, or putting divorce on hold.

Withdrawing a divorce case

If you’ve already started the divorce 

If you want to stop a divorce after the case has started, your options depend on whether you were the one to serve the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, also referred to as the Petitioner.

If you’re the Petitioner

If you are the spouse who filed the divorce papers, you can stop the divorce process at any time before your spouse responds with a Counterpetition (once they respond, you will need to both agree to stop the divorce process). To withdraw your case, you must:

  1. Go to the courthouse where you filed the divorce petition
  2. Ask for a request for dismissal form

Note that if you withdraw your case and later decide that you do want to go forward with the divorce after all, you’ll need to start the process from the beginning. For that reason, it can be a good idea to pause or slow down the divorce process if you’re having doubts, rather than dismiss it entirely.

If you’re the one who was served papers

If you are not the spouse who filed a petition for divorce, then you cannot stop the process unilaterally. The best option if you disagree with the terms of the divorce is to hire a divorce attorney. They can help you fight for your rights in the divorce process — whether that’s custody of your children, a fair division of assets, etc. 

Putting a divorce on hold

If you’re having doubts about your divorce, it can be a good idea to put the process on hold while working on reconciliation (rather than throwing out the case entirely). That way, if you do end up deciding to pursue a divorce, you won’t have to file new documents and pay new case filing fees, wasting additional time and money to start over at square one. 

In this situation, you can place your divorce case on “inactive status.” Note that both you and your spouse must agree to do this: one party cannot place the divorce case on inactive status unilaterally once both spouses have either filed or responded to the divorce petition. 

Placing a divorce case on inactive status freezes the case for a designated amount of time. During that time, couples can work on reconciliation. If they choose, they can return to the divorce process and pick up where they left off at any time before the designated window closes.

How long can a divorce be put on hold?

A divorce filing will automatically be closed if the case remains inactive for more than one year. 

When is a divorce considered “final”?

The court considers a divorce final once it has entered the final papers into the court’s records. These final papers are called the Judgment and Decree, and they contain the final decision on all issues of the divorce case, from the division of property and debt to child custody.

Can you stop a divorce that has already been finalized?

Once a divorce has been finalized, it is no longer possible to stop the proceedings. If you and your spouse wish to reverse the divorce process after this point, your only option is to remarry.

How is a divorce lawyer helpful in this process?

If you’re reconsidering your divorce and want to take another shot at reconciliation, a lawyer can help guide you toward the best option for you given your unique case, whether that’s putting the case on inactive status or dismissing it entirely. If your reconciliation isn’t successful, a divorce lawyer can help resume your case and get it back on track as quickly as possible. 

For more information, you can speak to one of our experienced divorce attorneys by scheduling a free one-on-one consultation below.

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