Can I Stop a Divorce if the Paperwork Has Already Been Filed?
No one enters into a marriage thinking that they will one day get divorced, but unfortunately, it happens all too often. Yet sometimes, you may find yourself wanting to put a stop to the divorce process, and you might wonder if it is even possible. The answer is yes, it is possible to stop a divorce in California, but there are certain steps that need to be taken.
Keep reading to learn more about how to stop a divorce in California.
Timeline for a California Divorce
The divorce process in California can be complicated, and it is important to understand the timeline before getting started. The first step is to file a petition for divorce with the court.
Once the petition is filed, the other spouse must be served with divorce papers. The next step is to file a response to the petition, and then the parties will begin the process of discovery. This involves exchanging information about each party’s assets and liabilities.
Once discovery is complete, the parties will either reach a settlement or go to trial. If the case goes to trial, the judge will make a decision on all issues in the case, including child custody and support, spousal support, and division of property. Once the judge makes a decision, the parties will be legally divorced. Up until this point, you can stop the divorce proceedings.
Under California law, parties must wait at least six months from the date of filing the petition for dissolution before a judge can issue a final divorce decree. So even if all of the above steps are completed in less than six months, you must simply wait for the clock to expire before a judge can finalize your divorce.
Stopping the California Divorce Process
Possibly the easiest way to stop the divorce process in California is to simply do nothing. Usually, you’ll only do this if you and your spouse have reconciled. Doing nothing will eventually lead to the court dismissing your divorce case. You won’t have to pay any additional fees but be aware that you also won’t receive any refunds of the fees you’ve already paid.
Your other option is to go the more formal route and file a request for dismissal. You can file a request for dismissal even after the six-month waiting period has passed.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Complete the Request for Dismissal. California provides you with a template request for dismissal form you can use. Complete this form in its entirety and ensure it’s absolutely accurate. Check with your local clerk, too, as they may require additional forms along with the state form.
- File the Request for Dismissal. Once you’ve completed the form and you’re confident that it’s accurate, you need to file it with the clerk. Make sure you bring extra copies as you’ll need to take some with you, and the clerk will keep one. Once the clerk has verified that your request for dismissal is complete, they’ll stamp it and give you at least two copies. You may also need to pay a fee for the stamped copies.
- Serve the Request for Dismissal on your spouse. Serve your spouse with the request for dismissal as soon as possible. Your spouse must be given adequate time to respond to your filing, even if they agree with it. The best way to have this document served on your spouse is to use a professional process server who will give you an affidavit of service that you can file with the court to let them know your spouse has been served.
If your divorce is moving quickly and you’ve already passed the six-month waiting period after filing the petition for dissolution of marriage, you need to move fast. Once the judge enters a final dissolution of marriage, there’s no way to undo or stop the divorce. So if you’ve decided you no longer want to get a divorce, you can take steps to stop the process, but only before your divorce is final.
Going through a divorce and attempting to stop the process is not simple. You may be better off working with a family law attorney who can help you navigate these complexities. But remember, your time to get your divorce case dismissed is limited, so you need to move fast.
Contact a Los Angeles Family Law Attorney Today
Getting a divorce is an emotional and complex process. If you’re trying to stop a divorce, you may have legal options to do so, but you must move quickly. Speak with a trusted and experienced family law attorney in Los Angeles today to discuss your options and take action.