As we’ve mentioned on our blog before, there is perhaps no better day for people seeking to end their marriage than the day on which a judge finally signs off on their divorce decree as it means they are finally free to focus on the road ahead.
What happens, however, if rather than feeling relief after their divorce is finalized, a couple actually experiences regret? Can they ask the court to vacate the decree or, in other words, “un-divorce” them?
As with many legal issues, the answer to this question is that it depends.
Consider the recent experience of a New Hampshire couple who filed for divorce back in January 2014 after 24 years of marriage. Here, they were ultimately granted a divorce in July before having an apparent change of heart and unsuccessfully seeking to have it vacated in March 2015.
In a unanimous decision handed down by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, it was decided that while state law permits divorces to be vacated for reasons like mistake, misfortune, accident or fraud, these circumstances were not present in the case in question. Furthermore, the court ruled that despite the couple’s argument that they had reconciled, state law nevertheless only vests the courts with the power to grant divorces, not negate them.
In general, the 50 states are divided on this issue with some setting forth specific circumstances or timeframes in which divorces can be vacated, and others providing courts with no such authority.
All of this, of course, naturally begs the question as to what the law is here in Arkansas.
Arkansas actually falls among the former, providing couples with some ability to vacate divorces.
If you have questions about a complex issue like this or would like to learn more about divorce in general, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.