Stop the divorce! Can you ever withdraw a divorce petition or put your divorce on hold?


Stop the divorce! I want to get off: Can you change your mind about a divorce and withdraw the divorce petition/papers? So you want to know if you can stop a divorce. Sure, why not? If you are the plaintiff, (the person who starts the divorce action) you can withdraw a divorce petition at any time prior to the judge signing off on the divorce. Or you can put it on ice for a bit. You would have to make an application to the court to withdraw the papers (stop the divorce) and you would need to serve your spouse these new papers and get an affidavit of service and file with the court. Then the divorce case would be withdrawn. The case is stopped.

If your spouse did not answer the petition in the first place, that is the end of it. Divorce off.
Or you can get a “stay” on the divorce Under certain circumstances, pending another procedure or event. You should discuss this with your divorce lawyer.

Click here to read about how to Avoid having a nuclear divorce

However, if your spouse had put in an answer and had put in counterclaims with his or her answer, then the case may proceed on your spouse’s answer and counterclaims alone; and so even if you withdrew your petition for divorce, the divorce case will and can still go forward against your wishes. If your spouse did not answer the complaint and you successfully withdraw the complaint and stop the divorce, he or she can just go right out and start an divorce action of their own if he or she still wants a divorce.
On the other hand, if this is a reconciliation, then wonderful. STOP THE DIVORCE. No harm, no foul; once the affidavit of service and stipulation of discontinuance have been filed, you can go back to being happily married again.
Good luck with that retry, ok?
Original version published April 22, 2009; last updated in 2014, 2017
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