The state of Washington does not allow couples to “undo” or reverse a divorce once a judge has established the final orders. If, however, the divorce action is not yet complete and you are still in the pre-trial phases, you can stop the divorce if both parties agree and the judge approves the agreement to cease divorce proceedings.

What are the rules for undoing a divorce?

As aforementioned, you cannot undo a divorce in Washington, but some states allow for reversals. Illinois, Nebraska, Mississippi, Arkansas, Maryland, and Kentucky are some of the states that will allow couples to vacate their divorce if they make their request within a certain amount of time.

Most states do not have any laws or avenues in place that allow for reversals, not even when the couple truly wants it. New York, South Dakota, and New Hampshire are among them.

One New Hampshire couple, Terrie Harmon and Thomas McCarron, who had been married for 24 years, requested that the courts reverse their divorce because they had reconciled their differences and reunited, according to media reports. Together, they filed a motion with the local court to vacate the original divorce degree. The couple wanted to opt for a reversal rather than remarry for sentimental and business-related reasons.

While New Hampshire courts will undo divorces in instances of fraud or mistake, this particular case did not qualify. The courts denied the couple’s request.

Because the rules for undoing divorce differ from state to state, you will want to seek legal counsel from a local attorney if this is an avenue you want to take.

What if I want to reverse my divorce in Washington?

If you and your ex have mended ways and wish to reconcile, reversing your finalized divorce is not an option in the state of Washington. Most states do not undo divorces because, as attorney Joshua Gordon (appointed to defend the lower court's ruling in the Harmon-McCarron) case explained, allowing couples to undo their divorces could jeopardize the finality of all divorces.

"Divorce is a uniquely fraught area of litigation. For divorced couples, it is often important to have the solace of knowing that their former spouse is indeed former,” Gordon said.

However, if you want to reunite with your ex, you can always opt to get married again, which is a much easier route to take anyway. Getting married is a far simpler, faster, and less expensive route than trying to convince the courts to undo its order.

You are welcomed to call me, Molly B. Kenny, anytime to discuss your legal options. I can also help with other family law issues such as pre- and post-nuptial agreements, custody, parenting plan modifications, and spousal/child support.

Contact my office at 425-460-0550, and schedule a consult with a divorce attorney at your convenience.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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