Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

I Filed for Divorce but Changed My Mind

If you have filed for divorce, then your marriage is in crisis. However, sometimes a crisis does not mean the end of a marriage. If you are having second thoughts about proceeding with your divorce, we can give you some alternatives. Our job at Held Law Firm is not only to get you through the divorce process but also to listen to you and advise you about all your choices, including pausing or stopping the divorce. If you have a pending divorce but you tell us that you want to stop the proceedings, we will give you some options.

1. Enter and Order of Reconciliation

With this option, the lawyers for both sides enter an Order formally placing the divorce on hold for six months. This option is relatively inexpensive because a court appearance is not required, but it requires both parties to agree. The benefit is that while an Order of Reconciliation is pending, the couple can resume married life without compromising their legal positions if the divorce goes forward. It also maintains the statutory injunctions against selling, giving away, or borrowing against marital assets. If you choose this option, after six months, the Order expires, and the case is dismissed. Either party can request that divorce proceedings proceed at any time during the six-month period. Having that deadline is often a good incentive for couples to work on their marriage, or else make the decision that the marriage is well and truly over.

2. Do Nothing

Sometimes filing for a divorce is a wakeup call and one party may realize that the other is serious about a divorce and they improve their behavior to save the marriage. The party who filed may have second thoughts and does not want to rush the divorce. This means not scheduling mediation or discovery or take any action to move the divorce forward. Now, we can all question whether a marriage that lives under this kind of threat is a good marriage, but for some it is time well spent to make sure the divorce is the correct path. For others, doing nothing is simply a moment for both sides to cool off for a moment, consider whether the marriage should or can be saved, and then, divorce or no, deal with one another in a calmer way.

If you choose this option, eventually, the Court will issue an “Order to Prosecute,” which is legalese for “you need to either pursue this divorce or dismiss it.” But this option is cheap, easy, and effective for many people whose marriages are in crisis.

3. Dismiss the Divorce Action

Yes, divorce really is a train that you can get off. If you decide you don’t want the divorce, you can dismiss it at any time, all the way up to the day of trial. You can dismiss “with prejudice” or “without prejudice.” Without prejudice means that if you change your mind again within a year, you can refile the divorce and allege the same facts that led you to file in the first place. A dismissal “with prejudice” means you can never bring up those facts again.

If you choose this option, you must make sure that your spouse has not also filed a complaint about divorce. Both of you must agree to dismiss it for the divorce to be dismissed altogether. If only one of you dismisses the Complaint, then the other person can pursue the divorce, and you are limited in what defenses you can raise. In recent years, we had a case where a wife dismissed her divorce against her husband, only to learn that he intended to move forward with his divorce case against her. She was not only devastated emotionally but unable to argue about the wrongs he had done to her effectively in court. That led to her inability to secure needed alimony payments.

In other words, we generally counsel against dismissal, at least at first. Instead, we are more likely to encourage you to either do nothing and take a breather or file an Order of Reconciliation.

But at the end of the day, it’s your choice.

You are the client, and you are the boss. Just know that filing for divorce is the beginning of a process of either fixing or ending your marriage – and not necessarily the end. We’ll be there for you no matter what. Give us a call at 865-637-6550 and let one of our attorneys talk with you about your options.