Let’s set the scene: you and your spouse have already filed for divorce. As you are still friendly, you plan on getting a no-fault and are awaiting your court date. As time passes, you are thinking about what is best for the both of you, your family, and your future. You both decide that you no longer want to go through with the divorce. What do you do? Your best option is to dismiss your divorce.
Stipulation of dismissal:
At this stage in court proceedings, with no involvement of a judge, dismissing your divorce is a very easy process. In this case, we are going to assume that you have filed a joint petition for divorce. If so, you and your spouse can go to the court and execute a Stipulation of Dismissal. When a settlement is reached in a pending case, a voluntary stipulation of dismissal is generally filed by the parties to resolve the action.
On the other hand, this may be a situation when there has been court involvement; perhaps a divorce already has been approved by a court in the Commonwealth. As in other states, there is a mandatory waiting period after a Judgement of Divorce in Massachusetts before it becomes final. This period is known as a nisi period. During this 90-day nisi period, the parties in divorce are given the option to change their mind before the divorce becomes final. During the nisi period, the marriage has not been dissolved. In an interesting Massachusetts case, Vaughan v. Vaughan, the Court held that where one party died during the nisi period, the other party was considered the surviving spouse of the deceased party.
What if you decide to change your mind regarding a divorce which was already granted by the court? Parties can file a motion to dismiss the divorce judgment. A judge may only grant a motion to dismiss a divorce complaint during the nisi period if there is “sufficient cause”. For example, in the case Mailer v. Mailer, the court held that issues with financial aspects of a divorce would not rise to sufficient cause to grant the motion to dismiss. However, an exception to this is if both parties in a divorce file a memo to agree to dismiss; then, no hearing is required, and the motion to dismiss will be granted.
Assuming you are the party who is seeking to dismiss your divorce action on behalf of yourself and the other party, it is necessary to file a statement of objections to the judgment of divorce during the nisi period.
Are you looking for an experienced Newburyport or Andover divorce lawyer or family law attorney? If you need more information about dismissing your divorce or about family law generally, you may schedule a free consultation with our office. Call 978-225-9030 during regular business hours or complete a contact form. We will respond to your phone call or submission promptly.