How to Change a Divorce Into a Separation

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Often a married couple files for divorce but then changes their mind and decides to stay together but separated. This is often done because of a financial situation--usually taxes as a couple may "come out" better on their income tax if they file as married, filing jointly, even if they are living separately. A couple may also want to try to work their problems out but may not be able to do it while living in the same house.

  • File a Motion to Dismiss the divorce action. The motion with your original signature is filed with the clerk of court, and a copy is sent to your spouse or her attorney if an attorney represents her. Keep a copy for yourself.

  • Contact the court for a hearing date. The court will give you several dates that are open. Contact your spouse or your spouse's attorney and ask if the attorney is available on one or more of the dates you are available. Contact the court to double check that the date chosen is still available. The court does not hold the dates given to you. If the date is still open, tell the court that you would like to schedule that date. The court's representative will pencil your hearing in on the calendar.

  • Draft a Notice of Hearing pursuant to your state's forms. Forms are usually available on the website for the clerk of court. If your clerk does not have forms available, you can pick up a form from the clerk's office.

  • File the Notice of Hearing with your original signature in the court file. Send a copy to the judge and a copy to your spouse or your spouse's attorney. Keep a copy for your records.

  • Attend the hearing. The Court will issue an order dismissing the case, unless your spouse objects. The Court will file the order in the court file, and the divorce case will be closed. You may then live together or remain separated.

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