Can We Slow Down the Divorce Once It’s Filed?

Every now and then, someone who has used me to file an uncontested divorce in Alabama has second thoughts about it. If you and your spouse have signed the papers for an uncontested divorce and then regretted it, know that you’re certainly unusual, but you’re not alone. You may be contemplating reconciliation. Here are some things for you to think about:

First, it’s impossible to “slow down” the divorce. The court is not set up to sit around waiting for you and your spouse to decide what to do. You can let your divorce go through on schedule, or you can dismiss it, but you can’t put a hold on it.

You probably have more time to dismiss it than you realize. For example, for at least 30 days after the filing date of your complaint (which you can find out here on if you use me to file your divorce), the court will do nothing with your case. At some point within a couple of weeks after the 30 days has run, the court will sign your divorce decree and your divorce will be effective. Even then, it’s not too late. If I file a motion to dismiss within 30 days after your divorce decree is effective, signed by both of you, the court will dismiss your case.

If you used me to file your divorce, it costs $125 to file a motion to dismiss it. This compensates me for the extra time needed to prepare and file your motion to dismiss, send it to you, scan and file it when you return it, and send it to you after the judge signs it. If you wait until the last minute, I may not be able to get it in on time.

If I file a motion to dismiss and the court grants it, your case is gone. Neither I nor anyone else can reinstate it. If you and your spouse decide later that you need to divorce after all, you’ll have to start all over with new documents and a new filing fee.

If you and your spouse allow your divorce to go through, you can always remarry. Keep in mind, however, that if you divorce and remarry, the law views your new marriage as a “fresh start.” That means, for example, that if you divorce after a 15 year marriage, then remarry, and then divorce a year later, the court will treat your marriage as a one year marriage for purposes of alimony and property division, not like a 16 year marriage. That can mean a big difference in the economic relationship between the two of you.

Alabama Family Law Center is a private law firm. It is neither a public legal aid agency nor a section or subcommittee of the Alabama State Bar. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.