Sometimes we do have clients who get back together even after filing lawsuits for child custody, child support, equitable distribution and spousal support. It is always a wonderful thing to see a family reconnect; however, there are some issues to consider before making a final determination.
Something to Think About Before Reconciling After Divorce
- Did either spouse have an extra marital affair? If the answer is yes, you must understand this could impact a claim for alimony.
Know How Your Alimony Claim can be Affected
If you forgive your spouse for an affair (referred to as condonation), and then separate for other reasons, the extra marital affair cannot be used in the alimony claim because it is condoned. If your spouse engages in another extramarital affair, then that prior affair will come back into play as being relevant due to the new affair.
If you are forgiving a dependent spouse for having an extramarital affair, this would have otherwise barred their claim for alimony. If you are forgiving the supporting spouse (breadwinner), it could lessen the strength of your claim for alimony potentially.
This is most important when forgiving dependent spouses of an extramarital affair, so be very careful the reconciliation is genuine and not a ruse to obtain a defense of condonation.
- Is there a lawsuit in place right now? Are there court orders in place?You can take voluntary dismissals of any claims pending fairly easily. You need to be sure they are dismissed WITHOUT PREJUDICE so they may be filed again in the future if necessary. If a claim is dismissed WITH PREJUDICE it cannot be filed again. Court Orders are not dissolved by virtue of a claim being dismissed. You would need to file a Motion to set aside the Court Order to be sure that it is no longer in effect. If you have a child support order, as an example, those payments could potentially still become due without the Order being set aside.
How to Approach Court Orders
What happens if you and your significant other break up again, she gets mad and files a motion for contempt for not paying the child support you were ordered to pay (even though you were together)?
It could get very tricky proving you two were together and explaining to the judge why you don’t owe that money. Rather than leave that issue unresolved, talk to an attorney about having any Orders entered in your case set aside. This also means of course, if you set aside a custody order, and then re-separate you have no custody order in place.
For a trial reconciliation, it may not be a bad idea to leave a custody order in place to be sure you have a fall back plan. It is very important to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney practicing in your county of residence to determine the best way to protect your interests when considering a reconciliation.
- What if you want to protect your assets and debts, but still try to reconcile?You can enter into a post-nuptial agreement, which is very similar to a prenuptial agreement except that you cannot provide for alimony provisions or waive alimony.
A Post Nuptial Agreement Might Be In Your Interest
A postnuptial agreement typically only provides for certain assets and debts to be allocated between the future, as well as future disposition of any assets and debts. It can give spouses the security they need to explore a reconciliation in good faith.
- It may be a good idea to seek family therapy.If you have children, especially those that are older, it would be recommended to work with a therapist for family therapy so the parents and children can understand the reconciliation and how the household may change.
Don’t Forget Your Children’s Emotions
Going from a very contentious separation to all of a sudden a loving household again, can be very confusing for children. It is important for children to feel secure and that their parent’s feelings are genuine. Not only will trust need to be rebuilt between the parents, but for the children as well.
If you have questions or concerns regarding reconciliation and what you can do to protect your legal rights, please feel free to schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys who practice family law in Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties.
Contact Our Raleigh Family and Divorce Attorneys for Support
Deciding to re-enter into a relationship with your former spouse is admirable, as long as it is a healthy situation. Give our family law attorneys a call at 919-301-8843 or complete the form to discuss your legal issues regarding your desire to reconcile.
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