Can I Stop a Divorce If the Paperwork Has Already Been Filed?

Posted in Divorce on May 10, 2019

Not all couples in Colorado achieve amicable divorces. Some couples both agree to the divorce, but not to its terms. Others have one spouse striving for reconciliation. In other cases, a couple files for divorce only to change their minds later. If you need to recall a divorce petition you or your spouse has already submitted to the courts in Fort Collins, you will need to follow a specific legal process. Act fast and contact a Fort Collins divorce lawyer – otherwise, it might be too late to stop the wheels you have set in motion.

If You Filed – Retracting the Petition

As the spouse that filed for divorce, if you change your mind you can typically request a dismissal. You have until the time a judge enters a final judgment on the petition to request a dismissal. The county clerk can give you the dismissal forms you will need to submit. If you file your dismissal form before your spouse has responded to the petition, you do not need to do anything more. The courts will dismiss the petition and you will remain married. If your spouse has already issued a response, however, you both must sign off on the dismissal form.

Your dismissal form officially files a motion asking the courts to dismiss your petition without prejudice. Filing this motion may take a simple letter expressing the need to stop the divorce, or else official paperwork depending on the rules of your jurisdiction. Explain in your motion whether your spouse has responded to the petition or not. You may need to appear at a hearing to explain why you want to dismiss the petition, in some situations.

If You Did Not File – How to Contest a Divorce

If you were not the spouse that filed for divorce, you generally cannot stop the process unless you convince the filing spouse to order a retraction. The only right you have once your spouse has filed the paperwork is to contest its terms. You may need to contest to the divorce if your spouse has issued terms you do not agree with, such as how to divide property or who will have custody of children. To contest a divorce, you must respond to the divorce papers your spouse served upon you within 21 days of receipt.

Respond to the divorce papers with terms of your own. Explain that you wish to contest the divorce’s current terms. Within 42 days of your spouse filing the papers, both of you and your lawyers will meet with a judge during an informal meeting called an Initial Status Conference. Here you can go over major contested issues in the divorce. You and your spouse may be able to work together at this point to agree on better divorce terms, or else you will have to take the case to court.

If you did not do the filing, you cannot stop a divorce from happening unless you reconcile with your spouse. You may only contest the divorce, which could make it last months or years longer than necessary, along with greater legal costs. Only the person that filed the divorce petition has the right to stop the process in Colorado. Talk to a local divorce attorney for more information and advice.

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