It seems that there are often headlines about celebrities filing for divorce, then reconciling, then filing again. For many couples, this pattern often continues before ultimately ending in divorce…or sometimes not. The most recent is actor Jay Mohr. Mohr filed for divorce from his wife of 10 years in July, but dismissed the case less than a week later. Jay Mohr files for divorce again, by Derrick Bryson Taylor, pagesix.com, December 15, 2016. However, just this week, Mohr refiled a Petition for Divorce, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking custody of their son. Many people ask: can a party file a Petition for Divorce, dismiss it, and then file again? Is there a limit to how many petitions and dismissals?
The short answers are: Yes, you can file, dismiss and file again. No, there is no limit to how many times you can do it. But, there are a few details you should know before going down that path:
- If you file a Petition for Divorce and then change your mind, you must file a Dismissal Without Prejudice. "Without Prejudice" means that you can refile again at a later time.
- If you dismiss your divorce petition and decide to refile later, you have to begin the process all over. This means that you must pay another filing fee, file a new Petition and other required documents (although they may be nearly identical to the first one other than the separation date) and have your spouse formally served with the Petition again (which may also result in another fee).
- If you have filed and dismissed more than once, be ready to answer a Judge's questions as to why. The judge will want to know why there has been so much back and forth, and may put deadlines in place to make sure the case keeps moving while it is on the docket.
Certainly there is nothing wrong with changing your mind about divorce and attempting to salvage your marriage. If you are unsure about divorce, consider going to marriage counseling before filing the petition or prior to dismissing if the case is already filed. That may help eliminate some of the back and forth. If you have already filed, a judge may consider holding your case off the hearing calendar if he/she knows you are trying to work things out. However, a judge's patience will not last forever so, at some point, you will need to either dismiss or go forward with the divorce.