Can We Reconcile Once the Divorce Papers Have Been Filed?

If a couple has already filed papers in court and they both agree that they wish to reconcile and not go through with the divorce, it is possible.

couple holding hands

When two people enter into marriage, they usually do so with the intention to stay married, as the vows typically state “till death do us part.” However, there are times when couples simply can’t live together. Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, which means that no one has to be to “blame” for the dissolution of a marriage to be granted. If one or both partners has irreconcilable differences, then it is possible for them to obtain a divorce.

There is a process to obtain a divorce in Missouri. You can file a “no-fault” divorce, or you can petition for a fault divorce. The only difference between the two is that if you file for a “fault” divorce, you must have legal grounds to insist that the marriage dissolution is the fault of one party. One reason you might want to make a fault claim is typically that you want to seek custody, or have more of your “share” of asset allocation when it comes time to divide marital assets.

What If You File and Then You Have a Change of Heart?

If a couple has already filed papers in court and they both agree that they wish to reconcile and not go through with the divorce, it is possible. They can both go before the judge and ask that the judge dismiss the papers once they have been filed.

They can request a dismissal of the papers once they have been entered at any time before a judgment to divorce has been rendered. If there has not been any response by one partner, then the person who petitioned alone can file for a dismissal. If both parties have filed, then they both have to ask for a dismissal.

When you file for a dismissal, you can do so either with prejudice or without prejudice. The difference is that if you intend to try to reconcile but aren’t sure if it is possible, filing without prejudice means that should things not go as intended, the petition can be reinstated or picked up in the future from where it was left off. If the petitioner files with prejudice, that means that the case cannot be reopened or reinstated. Therefore, if the couple seeks to dissolve their marriage sometime in the future because things aren’t working out, they must start from square one.

If you are served papers, you do not have the power to say “no” or to dismiss the process. If one party wants a divorce, then the other party does not have the right to dismiss the petition – only the petitioner does.

Sometimes you need a little time away to gain perspective and to find that things weren’t as bad as you thought they were. If you and your spouse filed for divorce, but have since had second thoughts, you can stop the process – but only if either the original petitioner dismisses it or if both parties agree. There is always time to back out before a final decision is rendered and the divorce is final. If you want to reconcile, or even give it a chance, talk to your divorce lawyer and find out how you can take back your petition or unilaterally do so with your spouse.


Contact The Betz Law Firm today for a free 30 minute phone consultation by calling (314) 801-8488 or by filling out our online contact form.