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Can an Illinois divorce be stopped once it is started?

Every marriage goes through rough patches, and you may have thought that the issues you and your spouse are facing are things the two of you can overcome. Suddenly being served with Illinois divorce papers in this situation may be particularly devastating. You may still have hopes of reconciling with your spouse and stopping the divorce process. But is it legally possible?

Unfortunately, you cannot legally stop the divorce from happening once your spouse has filed. However, according to Southern Illinois University School of Law, once someone has filed for an Illinois divorce and the spouse has been served the papers, the filer can still change his or her mind. Your spouse has the option to file a motion to dismiss the petition at any time before the hearing or trial starts. After that, your spouse would need to make sure you and your attorney get copies of the motion and affidavit.

If the two of you have already begun the hearing or trial, your spouse could still back out and end the process. All he or she needs at that point is either your agreement on the dismissal, or else an explanation for dismissing the case that the court finds compelling. However, the further you are in the process, the more compelling your spouse's explanation will have to be unless you give your agreement. 

Your spouse could also decide not to show up at your first hearing, in which case the judge would probably dismiss the divorce petition. By that point, you will have already filed your answer, and you probably will have filed your own petition or motion in hopes of a favorable ruling on property division, child custody and support. The judge is likely to rule in your favor on these requests if your spouse does not show up. But, you could still agree to abandon the divorce, as well, if you still feel so inclined.

Your spouse would be responsible for all the legal costs that both of you incurred, including filing fees, court costs and attorney fees, if the petition is dismissed.

This information is general in nature, and should not replace the advice of an attorney.

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