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How to Undo a Divorce

by Angela Ogunjimi

If you've had a change of heart about ending your marriage, you can undo a divorce case while it's still in progress. If your divorce has been finalized and the decree has been signed by a judge, your undo must come in the form of remarrying your spouse. Give your decision careful consideration, and if you reunite with your spouse, prepare to seek assistance to help you work through the problems that led to filing divorce papers. Still, you'd not be alone in doing so. You'd be joining the ranks of many people, like Billy Ray Cyrus and Larry King who stopped a divorce on the brink of being final, and those who've married the same person twice following a finalized divorce, like Larry King, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and Eminem.

Withdraw your complaint. Each state has a different method for doing so. You may need to file a formal document to rescind your divorce papers. Call the clerk of the court to ensure you follow the proper protocol.

File a motion for relief from judgment. Even after the final hearing, in most states, there is a 30-day period during which either spouse can file a post-trial motion to request a change.

Remarry. If your divorce decree has been signed and you've passed the waiting period, that marriage has been dissolved. Start a new marriage proceeding, following the requirements in your state.

Items you will need
  • Paperwork to file motions
  • Attorney
  • Marriage license

Tip

  • Seek an attorney to guide you through this process. The timing of filing motions is critical and guided by law. In addition, if you signed any agreements while headed toward divorce, you want to make sure they are resolved to recognize your reconciliation. Be sure you also undo any changes to your will, insurance beneficiaries and financial accounts you may have made.

Warning

  • Many people who remarry the same person often go on to divorce again. That may be okay for celebrities with lots of money, but if you would depend on spousal support and being granted property, you may not like the stakes. Your second marriage, even to the same person, will be considered a totally separate and distinct union, so if the second time around lasts only a few years, the judge may be less likely to award you significant sums of money or property --- even if your first time around lasted 20 years. Consider a prenuptial agreement before you remarry.

About the Author

Angela Ogunjimi has been a prize-winning writer and editor since 1994. She was a general assignment reporter at two newspapers and a business writer at two magazines. She writes on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and weight control for a project of the National Institutes of Health. Ogunjimi holds a master's degree in sociology from George Washington University and a bachelor's in journalism from New York University.

Photo Credits

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