A divorce can be a complex and emotional process that often defies prediction. There may be instances where, even after initiating the divorce proceedings, you desire some time to reconsider your decision before finalizing it. This article aims to provide an understanding of the options available within Minnesota law for pausing, slowing down, or putting a divorce on hold.
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Withdrawing a Divorce Case
If You Have Already Initiated the Divorce
If you wish to halt a divorce after commencing the case, the available options depend on whether you were the Petitioner, i.e., the spouse who served the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
If You are the Petitioner
As the spouse who filed for divorce, you have the authority to stop the process at any time before your partner responds with a Counterpetition. Once your partner responds, both parties need to mutually agree to halt the proceedings. To withdraw your case, follow these steps:
- Visit the courthouse where you initially filed the divorce petition.
- Request a form for dismissing the case.
It’s important to note that if you withdraw your case and later decide to proceed with the divorce, you will need to start the process from scratch. Therefore, if you harbor doubts, it might be wise to pause or slow down the proceedings instead of dismissing them entirely.
If You are the Respondent
If you are not the spouse who filed for divorce, you cannot unilaterally stop the process. The best course of action, in case you disagree with the divorce terms, is to hire a divorce attorney. They can assist you in safeguarding your rights throughout the divorce proceedings, be it child custody or a fair division of assets.
Putting a Divorce on Hold
If you have doubts about your divorce and wish to explore the possibility of reconciliation, it is advisable to temporarily suspend the proceedings instead of completely dropping the case. By doing so, if you eventually decide to pursue the divorce, you won’t have to submit new documents or pay additional case filing fees, saving both time and money by avoiding starting from square one.
In such a scenario, you can place your divorce case on “inactive status.” It’s crucial to remember that both you and your spouse must agree to this course of action; one party cannot unilaterally place the case on inactive status once both spouses have either filed or responded to the divorce petition.
Placing a divorce case on inactive status suspends the proceedings for a specified period. During this time, couples can work on reconciliation. If they choose, they can resume the divorce process and pick up where they left off before the designated window closes.
How Long Can a Divorce Be Delayed?
A divorce filing will automatically be closed if the case remains inactive for more than one year.
When is a Divorce Considered “Final”?
A divorce is considered final once the court enters the final papers into its records. These papers, known as the Judgment and Decree, contain the conclusive decision on all aspects of the divorce, including property and debt division, as well as child custody.
Can You Stop a Divorce That Has Already Been Finalized?
Once a divorce has been finalized, it is no longer possible to halt the proceedings. If you and your former spouse wish to reverse the divorce after this point, the only option available is to remarry.
The Role of a Divorce Lawyer in This Process
If you are reevaluating your divorce and contemplating reconciliation, a lawyer can provide valuable guidance on the best course of action tailored to your unique circumstances. Whether it involves placing the case on inactive status or dismissing it entirely, a divorce lawyer can help. In the event that reconciliation is unsuccessful, a lawyer can assist in promptly resuming your case and getting it back on track.
For more information, you can speak to one of our experienced divorce attorneys by scheduling a free one-on-one consultation here.