Filing for Reinstatement of Divorce After Reconciliation Attempt
Family Law Attorney Serving in Clark, Roselle, Garwood, Elizabeth, and throughout Union and Essex Counties, and northern Middlesex County.
The decision to file for divorce is a difficult one. Even with deep reflection and the setting aside of the emotional turmoil that such a decision invokes, many factors affect the couple’s decision and the unfolding of the proceedings.
In New Jersey, a divorce can be sought with the reason of irreconcilable differences. In some cases, a spouse files a specific Complaint about Divorce, which may affect the division of assets or alimony. Upon initiating the legal process, with or without the inclusion of a Complaint for Divorce, it sometimes happens that the spouse decides to attempt to reconcile with their partner. In this case, they dismiss the divorce by the Family Part, Superior Court of New Jersey
If reconciliation is not successful, it is possible in New Jersey to move forward with the Complaint for Divorce proceedings without having to file and pay fees again, under certain circumstances. Past rulings have shown that the Family Part, Superior Court of New Jersey encourages attempts at reconciliation between couples before finalizing divorce procedures by including shared attempts at settlement in the ‘exceptional circumstances’ that loosen the law’s guidelines for divorce proceedings.
Rule 1:13-7(a): Why a Complaint about Divorce may be Reinstated
Rule 1:13-7 provides specific time provisions within which reinstatement of a case may occur after it has been dismissed. This includes Rule 1:13-7(a), which specifically relates to divorce, and notes that a motion to reinstate a Complaint about Divorce may be reinstated if reasonable cause is shown, and the request occurs within 90 days of the order for dismissal of the divorce. If the motion is requested after 90 days, it will only be granted with specific evidence of exceptional circumstances.
Therefore, if the divorce has been dismissed, it may be reinstated within ninety days or under ‘exceptional circumstances,’ such as an honest attempt at reconciliation by both parties that surpassed the 90-day limit but that was ultimately unsuccessful.
An Example of this Legal Precedent: Schmidt v. Schmidt
In one such case, Schmidt v. Schmidt, overseen by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Family Part of Ocean County, the judge determined that a reinstatement of the Complaint for Divorce was within reason because, though the motion to reinstate the Complaint about Divorce occurred over eight months after the divorce’s dismissal for reason of reconciliation, the judge wanted to encourage a couple’s sincere attempt to reconcile.
Though attempts at reconciliation were unsuccessful, the judge of the Family Part, Superior Court of New Jersey determined that the eight-month window was not beyond the bounds of an ‘exceptional circumstance,’ especially as the couple had made an honest effort. If this had not been the case and the judge had denied the motion to reinstate the Complaint about Divorce, the filing spouse would have had to pay two relatively large fees to file for divorce twice within one year, simply because he and his wife had mutually attempted to reconcile.
As it was, the ruling judge of the Family Part of Ocean County, Superior Court of New Jersey ordered the filing spouse to file a responsive pleading within 35 days of the motion to reinstate. Additionally, because of the attempt at reconciliation, the previously dismissed Complaint about Divorce was not automatically restored; instead, his wife was given a full 35 days to respond to the reinstated Complaint.
Contact our attorney to properly guide you in the divorce process.
Call The Law Offices of Edward S Cooper at (908) 481-4625 to schedule an initial consultation with our legal team to learn more about procedures in filing for divorce, dismissing a divorce filing, or reinstating a divorce filing after attempted reconciliation. We serve in Garwood, Elizabeth, and throughout Union and Essex Counties.
Learn more about New Jersey law surrounding filing for divorce for irreconcilable differences, as well as what to know about filing an additional Complaint about Divorce. You also visit us in our office conveniently located at 812 North Wood Avenue, Suite 303 Linden, NJ 07036.