What Happens If You Change Your Mind about Your Divorce?

Ending a marriage is more than a simple legal matter. It is an emotionally charged life transition involving two people who have made a huge investment in their relationship and each other. 

Reconciliations happen. Couples change their mind. In fact, research has shown that about 50 percent of spouses who considered divorce had changed their minds when interviewed a year later. 

What happens if you’ve already put the wheels in motion for a divorce and you’ve had a change of heart?

Can a pending divorce be canceled?

Divorce may seem like an appropriate decision for a couple one moment and an altogether bad one the next. Fortunately, family laws don’t force couples to divorce just because they’ve begun the legal process. Most states have made it relatively simple for divorcing couples to cancel a pending divorce at almost any point until the final judgment is issued.

But the longer you wait, the more involved it can be, and the more legal fees and court costs you may be responsible for.

Before the petition is filed

If you’ve changed your mind about your divorce, there are steps that must be taken depending on what stage of the process you’re at. If no divorce petition has been filed, you and your spouse can stop the process in its tracks and just choose not to continue. 

After the petition is filed

Once a petition has been filed, if the two of you decide to reconcile, a dismissal must be requested from the court and procedures followed. 

Each state has its own process for withdrawing a divorce request. Generally, if one spouse has already filed a petition with the court but there has been no response or counter-petition by the other spouse, the petitioner can unilaterally ask to withdraw the petition. When this is done “without prejudice,” it reserves the right to file a petition at a later date without starting over again. Once the court approves the dismissal, it considers the case over and closes the file. 

If the other spouse has filed a response, a request for dismissal can still be made to the court. In this scenario, both spouses must agree, and they must ask the court to withdraw the divorce petition.  

Can a dismissal be denied?

A divorce only needs one willing party to proceed, but two willing parties are required to dismiss a divorce after a certain point. 

For example, if one spouse has changed their mind about the divorce but the other still wants it, the court will likely deny the dismissal. 

A court may also deny a dismissal if concerns about possible fairness, coercion, or domestic violence exist. 

When is it too late to cancel a divorce?

Technically, spouses can cancel a divorce at any time before the final judgment, provided they both agree and follow the correct procedures. 

Can a divorce be put on hold?

If you aren’t sure whether you still want to proceed with your divorce, you can also decide to hit the pause button. 

Filing a Motion to Abate will put your divorce case on hold. Depending on your jurisdiction, this hold can last for 60 to 90 days and even be extended. During this time, you can decide if a reconciliation is possible or if continuing with your divorce is the best option. 

If you decide to continue with the divorce, you will only be required to file a Motion to Continue; you will not have to refile.

What if my spouse wants to cancel the divorce but I don’t?

If your spouse has had a change of heart but you still want to move on, you can. Nothing requires you to remain in your marriage. A judge will typically want to schedule a hearing to hear from both sides before making their final decision. 

What if I want to cancel the divorce but my spouse doesn’t?

Conversely, if you want to cancel your divorce but your spouse doesn’t, you can’t force your spouse to remain married. In many states, especially when children are involved, you can request counseling in your counterclaim to the petition, but this won’t stop the process from moving forward. 

If you have changed your mind about your divorce but your spouse hasn’t, you may consider getting the assistance of a divorce mediator to help you and your spouse work through any issues that are standing in the way of ending your divorce proceedings. 

Will Hello Divorce give me a refund if I cancel my divorce?

While refunds aren’t standard practice at Hello Divorce, there may be a situation where you believe a refund is warranted if you don’t proceed with your divorce. We are happy to consider your individual circumstances in this case.

If you are reconsidering divorce, we may be able to help. At Hello Divorce, we want to make your life as simple and pain-free as possible when it comes to the divorce process. Book time with one of our attorneys or mediators, or schedule a free 15-minute call to see what other options may be available to you. 

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.