Family Law: How to Stop Divorce in Progress

Occasionally, after a party has started a divorce action in Washington (Dissolution of Marriage), they change their mind, and decide they want to stop divorce proceedings. This may be for a variety of reasons, including reconciliation, guilt, change of mind, giving it another try, etc. As an attorney, I would never stand in the way of the reconciliation of the parties, but sometimes it is worth letting the legal action sit for a while, while you pursue the reconciliation. I would strongly encourage marital counseling. If after a while it is successful, then we can dismiss the legal action. If it does not work, we can proceed from where we left off, and not have to go back and start all over again (costing additional time and money).

The procedure we go through to stop divorce proceedings depends upon where we are in the process. If the other party has not appeared in the action or filed a Response, we can unilaterally dismiss the action with a Voluntary Non Suit. If the other party has appeared and filed a Response, then the petitioning party cannot just unilaterally dismiss the action. It will take the agreement of the parties to dismiss, by filing an Agreed Order of Voluntary Dismissal.