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Changed Your Mind About a Divorce?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 9 Dec 2017 |
Changed Your Mind About A Divorce?

If you and your ex have decided to make a go of it again you are not the only ones! A considerable number of people each year separate or take time away from their partners without actually going through the divorce process. The law also recognizes that couples need a ‘cooling off’ period, in case they wish to change their minds. This is why the divorce process takes several months to complete, even for uncontested and simple divorces.

How to Stop Your Divorce

If you and your spouse decide to make a go of things, you can stop your divorce from being finalised. It is only possible to apply for a decree absolute six weeks and one day after you receive your decree nisi. If you have already had a decree nisi, it is only the petitioner who can then apply for the decree absolute after this period. If as the petitioner you do not do this, there will be no divorce but you should write to the court (or your solicitor) dealing with your divorce and inform them that you are withdrawing from the divorce proceedings.

If the petitioner has not applied, the respondent can apply for a decree absolute three months, six weeks and one day after the grant of the decree nisi. If the respondent has been the one to apply for the decree absolute they should write to the court or to their solicitor to have the proceedings stopped.

When is it too Late to Stop the Divorce?

You can stop your divorce proceedings any time up until the grant of the decree absolute. Once your decree absolute has been granted, there is no going back. It is not possible to ‘cancel’ a decree absolute as by law you have then completed the divorce proceedings and are no longer married to one another. If you and your spouse have changed your mind about divorcing, it is imperative that you let your solicitor know as soon as possible to prevent your divorce being finalised. If your decree absolute has already been granted, you are then free to re-marry your spouse (or anyone else) if you wish to.

It is often the case that neither party applies for the decree absolute as soon as they are legally able to (i.e. six weeks or four and a half months after the grant of the decree nisi). This is because it is advisable to hold off on applying for the decree absolute until any financial disputes between you and your spouse (or your lawyers) have been rectified.

Can I Re-Start the Divorce Proceedings Later On?

If you and your spouse change your minds again, you will have to commence proceedings again.

What if I Want to Defend My Divorce?

This is a different situation entirely. If you decide that you do not want to divorce your spouse, but they do want to proceed with the divorce, you can contest the divorce. It is worth noting however that if one person wants to contest the divorce, the legal bills can become very expensive. In short, the more issues that one party contests the more the lawyers earn.

In the first instance your respective solicitors will try to ensure that the issues that are contested can be mediated and settled without a court hearing. If this is not possible, the court then decides what each party should be entitled to. This could include access to the children, financial payments, debt apportionment and division of assets.

Although contesting a divorce means that the legal process takes longer, it is worth remembering that one party can file for divorce without the other’s consent being required if you and your spouse have been separated for a period of five years. If one person wants to divorce and has grounds for doing so, then they’ll be able to divorce you.

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My ex and i have been separated 3 years, and in august i received her application for divorce and posted it back etc. The court received it and posted back to her solicitors on the 1st of September. Yet they are now playing silly games and refusing to apply for the decri nisi. Its a stright forward case with nobody objecting and no children or estate to dispute Can i apply for the decri nisi or can i start my own proceedings with this one already started ?
jj - 9-Dec-17 @ 4:18 PM
I recently filed for divorce, my ex has signed the papers and sent them back. Next step is the Nisci, can he change his mind and contest now he’s sent them back or is it all down to me now? I know what he’s like and I don’t want to get too relaxed if there’s still chance it can get complicated?
BKNE - 5-Dec-17 @ 9:51 PM
I have 2 queries please: If I disagree the grounds but do not intend to defend the divorce what will the implications be? Also, if my husband withdraws his petition, will he get his fee back? I would get legal aid so could petition myself and get it paid for and then we can put the fee towards mediation?
Jojo - 1-Dec-17 @ 2:27 PM
@LisaJ - the petitioner can ask for the divorce proceedings to stop but the respondent can't. But if your ex wants to still proceed with the divorce, you can contest it, but this will 'cost'. This means a large chunk of the money you might hope to save, could end up being sucked up in legal wrangling and legal fees (and if anything can suck up money lengthy court cases or court challenges can). You can't really escape the division of assets - it's part of the marriage agreement.
Laura* - 6-Nov-17 @ 10:20 AM
My husband and I have the Divorse Nisi and now await the Divorse Absolute.We have each paid our separate pensions.He has contributed little or nothing to the house purchase or family expenses. I do not wish him to have half of my pension or a large share of the family house.Can I cancel Divorse Absolute proceedings and what happens if I am able to do so?? Positive comments will be appreciated.Thank you. Lauren
LisaJ - 5-Nov-17 @ 11:08 AM
Hi, I am the Respondent in the divorce case. I did not defend and paid the court fee of £500+. We are both self-represented parties. My husband now decided that as a measure of punishment, he will delay the application for Decree Nisi. We live separately and there is no possibility of resuming our marriage. I now want a divorce and a clean start. Yet, I am annoyed I have paid the court fee and he is now acting unreasonably. It is a straight forward matter, no children, no estate. Can I ask the Court to proceed to make a decision for Decree Nisi myself or, if not, can I get the court fee back and petition against him on a different ground? Many thanks.
Sue - 19-Sep-17 @ 4:14 PM
tezana - Your Question:
I started a divorce proceeding last yr and got a decree this year in March.I realised I did a mistake my partner have no idea about this and he wants to come back.are we still legally married?

Our Response:
If you have received the decree absolut (it usually comes six weeks after the decree nisi), then you will be legally divorced. If either one of you you stalled it at decree nisi and have not applied for the decree absolut, then you are legally married.
DivorceResource - 18-Sep-17 @ 2:46 PM
I started a divorce proceeding last yr and got a decree this year in March.I realised I did a mistake my partner have no idea about this and he wants to come back.are we still legally married?
tezana - 16-Sep-17 @ 2:08 AM
8 years ago my partners ex filed took it to nisi stage then stopped it if he applies for the absolute can she stop it from going through he was told by her that she had divorced him so that's why he's left it till now thank you
lol - 24-Aug-17 @ 1:57 PM
Two years ago I started the process where my husband sign the divorce I bought an index number. After papers got notarize Idid not turn in the papers due to us trying again but now I know I need the divorce.Do I need to start all over or can I turn in the documents I do have already
Natta - 23-Jul-17 @ 11:59 AM
@Eltommo - just reading your message while looking for information for myself. First of all you have to 'respect' your ex's wishes. Your ex has applied for divorce over domestic violence, you say you've been controlling, your ex says she feels the need to have to 'escape' and you still want to keep the family together and seek help for 'her'. If you admit to being controlling, give her some space and respect her wishes. That way you may gain the result you want. Only when someone tries to imprison, does someone feel the need to escape. Give her freedom, let go and try a different less manipulative, more respectful listening approach and you may then find she is more accommodating and more inclined not to feel the need to run. Only then you may be able to build bridges to a more understanding relationship between her and your kids. Push and she'll back off, relax and there's a chance she'll come forward. It's your only hope.
Soph72 - 20-Jun-17 @ 9:58 AM
My wife has applied for a divorce siting domestic violence. However whilst I agree that my behaviour was unacceptable she also committed physical and verbal abuse to me, she also had a sexting affair. My behaviour is down to trust issues and became controlling. We have been through a lot together and actually get on 99% of the time and have a loving relationship. We both suffered depression, I am ok but she is still suffering on anti depressants and had been drinking heavily and upsetting the children. I feel I am about two lose everything but my only wish is to keep the family together and seek help for her. She had moved 6 hours away making it virtually impossible to see my children. Can I do anything? She says that she needs space but has already served a divorce motivationand issued a court order.
Eltommo - 16-Jun-17 @ 9:49 PM
Hello, I started divorce proceedings but couldnt find him...so no papers were signed and gave up I now want to re-marry and am desperate.to re start the petition.We have been seperated for well over 10years and the petition is also over 10 yrs can this be re started?And if so how can i find the petition number?
Vicks - 11-Jun-17 @ 11:52 PM
I have a Decree Nisi granted, I'm not the petitioner I could stop the divorce because I have suffered -victim for the purpose of getting papers -the right to protection from intimidation and harassment -right to restitution from the offender -the right to apply for crime victim compensation
GB123 - 6-Jun-17 @ 12:58 PM
I started an amicable divorce two and a halfyears ago.After the decree nIsi was granted , we changed our minds . We now want to divorce .. Can we re activate the decree nisi to decree absolute. is it held on file ?thank you
dizzy - 4-May-17 @ 2:00 PM
I started divorce proceedings in October 15 and got to decree nisi but changed my mind but now realised I have made a mistake and would like to Pursue the divorce.Do I need to start the proceedings again
Shoes - 31-Dec-16 @ 12:09 PM
How do we word a letter to the courts to stop the divorce proceedings and/or we just complete a D11 form...if the D11 form is the way forward, how do I complete the form? Many thanks
GirlFriday - 26-Dec-16 @ 8:02 PM
We too filled in a D11seeking rescindment ofthe decree nisi,absolutely mutual. We paid the lesser fee of £50 At no stage were we obliged to attend the court we were asked on the D 11 could this rescindmentbe done by phone or letter,we replied "yes". At no stage were we told to attend the court. Today we received a letter from the court dismissing our mutual request because we weren't in attendance.!! A phone call to the Court eventually answered offered little help,infact he said"he wasn't legally trained.This family court is awful,what can we do now?
Johno. - 25-Nov-16 @ 1:22 PM
I too have just received nisi. I am the petitioner due to my husband's adultery one off incident. I was all up for divorce as he says he doesn't want me. But it has only been just a year. I feel I need more time we were together for 18 years. I still have those niggling doubts, time is a healer. How do I stop my divorce? Nisi was only granted on 24 October. Do I need to tell my husband I am holding off? If he wants to divorce me does that mean he would have to go down route of unreasonable behaviour. In that case if I don't sign does this too stop the divorce?
Becks - 31-Oct-16 @ 5:25 AM
Hi, I need some help ASAP I have only been married 5 weeks today and already I no ur was a massive mistake I've found out my partner is taking out loans and owing ppl a lot of money I've gave up so much money wise me and my children to be with him!! Can I get an annulment??? What do I have to to make this right? What are my options here
Cheri - 1-Oct-16 @ 6:39 AM
I never cease to be amazed at ALFRED HEALING HOME. After many months of separation from my husband, Dr. Alfred has redeemed my family and my husband and I are back together. Just an email conversation with Dr. Alfred at alfredhealinghome AT gmail DOT com and little money was all it takes to heal my marriage and it is what i will advice anyone out there with marital problems to give a try, believe me is worth trying.
Janet Valentin - 3-Sep-16 @ 8:16 PM
Like SG (29 Jul 16) my wife and I now dont want a divorce. We have sent the UK divorce court a D11 to cancel which we've been told costs £50. Surely the initial £550 cost will then be refunded?
BDA - 31-Aug-16 @ 7:47 PM
I filed for divorce just over a week ago, we have both received the first correspondence of this nothing has been signed and sent back as yet, however I have changed my mind, how do I stop proceedings and will I incur any costs?
SG - 29-Jul-16 @ 1:54 PM
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payospiritsshalospel - 5-May-16 @ 1:09 PM
I am the petitioner and have filed for divorce from husband for adultery (under pressure as he threatening unreasonable behaviour!) which he has agreed to not defend in the acknowledgement of service as he is in a full-time relationship with her now.. I'm quite happy to wait a while before taking to the next step as it suits my circumstances right now (we have children and matrimonial home). Is there a time limit that I have to submit the decree Nisi application forms within? When I do decide to apply I also change my mind now and ask for him to pay costs and originally I was being fair and we agreed to pay from our joint account but the finiancial side is becoming more tricky now.
ConfusedMrs - 17-Apr-16 @ 2:40 PM
PhillipLee - Your Question:
We have had Decree Nisi granted. If I want to withdraw from the divorce proceedings is this only possible if both parties agree, or am I able to do this without her consent ?

Our Response:
Yes, you can individually stop your divorce proceedings any time up until the grant of the decree absolute.
DivorceResource - 22-Mar-16 @ 11:15 AM
We have had Decree Nisi granted. If I want to withdraw from the divorce proceedings is this only possible if both parties agree, or am I able to do this without her consent ?
PhillipLee - 21-Mar-16 @ 1:38 PM
Swanie - Your Question:
My divorce should be final in a few weeks. He didn't contest to anything. Can he contest now?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, a person can stop their divorce proceedings any time up until the grant of the decree absolute. Once your decree absolute has been granted, there is no going back.
DivorceResource - 19-Jan-16 @ 12:44 PM
My divorce should be final in a few weeks. He didn't contest to anything. Can he contest now?
Swanie - 18-Jan-16 @ 4:00 PM
Can you help my husband has filed for divorce which is now at the nisi stage following this his solicitor has sent me a letter saying that the court has made an order that I pay the costs incurred on their clients behalf (my ex husband ) which comes to 1516.44p that I have got to pay any ideas where I stand on paying this ?? Help
Eissac - 10-Dec-15 @ 5:10 PM
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