I had a newer client call me today and ask if it was possible to slow down the divorce process because they were thinking they might be able to reconcile.
We had filed their divorce earlier in the month and had mailed out the divorce documents to his wife. We were doing a simplified service where the spouse only need sign saying she received the documents. Their question was whether they should sign the notice of acknowledgment of receipt or just hold off on everything.
Here are your options if you fall into this situation. First, you can simply not sign anything. Just hold off on having your spouse served and wait to see if things work out. This is what the 6 months cooling off period is for. The only issue you may run into is this. If you don’t serve your spouse within 60 to 90 days, the court will set a case management conference to have you appear in court and explain the situation of what is going on.
So this first option is good idea if your spouse knew you filed for divorce. Why do I say this? Because if you filed for divorce and your spouse has no idea and then received a notice in the mail from the court addressed from you and opens it, they will see that you filed for divorce. This will not be a good day for you if this happens.
The next option is to use the notice of acknowledgement of receipt of divorce form and have them sign it. They can sign in and then just don’t file it. Hold onto it until you are sure you are going through with the divorce. This will not slow anything down if you later decide to move forward. The date your spouse was served will be the day they signed it, even if you file it months later.
One more option would simply be to complete the process of service of your divorce. Then you don’t have to worry about the court setting any court dates. But serving your spouse can be kind of official and if you are trying to reconcile, you may want to avoid serving your spouse as that almost always sets a negative tone.