Q: I have been having trouble in my marriage and feel that it may be necessary to file for divorce. However, I am not sure this is what I am ultimately going to do. If I file the paperwork and then change my mind, what happens?

A: The decision of whether to file for divorce is a highly emotional and extremely complex one. If you hold out any hope that your marriage might be saved, I would encourage you to seek the advice of a mental health professional, sooner rather than later to help you sort through the emotional and practical considerations. While I would never encourage anyone to file for divorce until they feel absolutely certain that their marriage cannot be preserved, I will tell you that a significant percentage of my clients who file a divorce action do not end up actually finalizing the divorce.

In a divorce with children, the judgment cannot be finalized for at least six months after filing the complaint for divorce. If during that time the husband and wife decide to explore reconciliation, the court will often place that matter on "administrative closing" to allow extra time to explore the likelihood of success. The same is true in a divorce without children, in which case the waiting period is shortened to 60 days. A divorce is not final until the judge actually signs the judgment of divorce. If at any time the plaintiff, the person who filed the complaint for divorce, decides to dismiss the proceeding, the court will do so upon request, provided the other party also agrees.

For more information about divorce reconciliation, click here.