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Putting the Brakes on Your New Jersey Divorce? Consider a Reconciliation Agreement

We’ve all heard of cold feet leading up to a wedding, but what about a divorce?

Even though marriages that have broken down to the point of divorce filings are obviously in crisis, reconciliation during divorce isn’t unheard of. One team of researchers found that among 2,500 divorces underway, 10 percent involved two spouses who were open to trying to reconcile. In 30 percent of cases, at least one spouse was interested. As our Monmouth County divorce attorneys have noted, the earlier a couple is in the divorce process, the more likely they will reconcile.

A couple high-profile examples include Cardi B and Offset and Stanley Tucci and Kate Spath-Tucci.

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

If your divorce has been finalized by the time you and your ex have a change of heart, there may be no canceling what’s already done (though you could, in theory, remarry).

If the divorce is not finalized, you could request withdrawal of your petition or sign a voluntary dismissal. Withdrawing a petition is something that usually happens if you’re earlier on in the process and may only require filling out a county clerk form. However, if you’re farther along in the divorce process, you can ask the court to grant a voluntary dismissal. In either situation, there is no need to give the court reasons or explanation.

Where it starts to get stickier is if you already have a signed divorce settlement. This is a rarity, but if it occurs before the judge has a chance to finalize that agreement, your divorce attorney can file a motion requesting the court not to rule on the settlement. This would halt the divorce proceedings.

What you do NOT want to do is simply ignore the matter. It’s possible the case will keep moving through the court system and there may be a default judgment.

If you call off your divorce, don’t expect to get a refund on the filing fee. However, if you decide to restart the divorce process within three months, you may be able to do so without paying an additional filing fee (unless there is some type of special circumstance such as active military duty).

What is a Reconciliation Agreement and Why Do I Need It?

If your marital troubles were so significant that one of you filed for divorce, but now you’re trying to work out your differences, a reconciliation agreement is often recommended.

Reconciliation agreements are a kind of post-nuptial agreement. They stipulate how debts and assets will be divided in the event you two ultimately do go through with a divorce. Sometimes, a reconciliation agreement is the compromise made for agreeing to stay and work it out. The spouse considering the divorce agrees to stay married and voluntarily dismiss the pending case, and the other spouse offers a tradeoff of some type of financial or property right. It carries some weight about the seriousness of one or both parties involved about trying to mend fences.

Reconciliation agreements can save couples time and money if the relationship ultimately unravels, as both parties emerge with a clearer understanding about how assets and debts will be divided. That limits the amount of negotiations necessary if the case is refiled. Some reconciliations have time limits for their validity (i.e., if the divorce is refiled within two years, etc.), while others are simply left open-ended. They can be tailored uniquely to your situation.

Courts are inclined to enforce reconciliation agreements, so long as they are specific and fair both at the time created and executed. If you have questions about filing a reconciliation agreement, our Monmouth family law attorneys can help.

Call Rozin | Golinder Law today at (732) 810-0034 to speak to our experienced New Jersey family law team.