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When is a Divorce Actually Final?

Due to all the legal ramifications and tax considerations that surround being both married and divorced, it is crucial that you and your spouse both understand when your divorce is finalized. Sometimes when two spouses each sign the divorce paperwork, they are considered “officially” divorce but this is really just a title. The state will only really care and make its own necessary adjustments to your status once your divorce is considered final.

In order for a divorce to be considered “final,” a family law court judge will need to approve your divorce agreement and sign it. It is that third signature that makes all the difference. If you mailed in your divorce paperwork or filed it to a county clerk’s desk directly, but no judge was present right then and there to approve and sign, there may be a significant delay until your divorce is final.

For smaller courts that handle comparatively small amounts of cases each year, a family law judge might take up to six weeks to see your case, review it thoroughly, and sign it. You will be notified once it is final. For larger courts with more traffic, however, it is not completely out of a question for a full year to pass before it is finalized. With this said, it is highly suggested that you work with a family law attorney when considering divorce to discover options to avoid this potential delay.

What If I Don’t Want My Divorce to Be Finalized?

In some situations, a divorce becomes unnecessary or inadequate while it is in progress. Many divorcing couples reconcile after starting the divorce process, decide a legal separation is better suited, or want to change the provisions put forth in the divorce paperwork. So long as a family law judge has not yet signed your divorce order and made it finalized, you and your spouse can petition together to retract it. If one of you does not agree to retract the divorce, it will remain in the system but become contested instead of uncontested.

Once a judge does sign that paperwork and makes your divorce final, though, that is the end of the line. You cannot annul a divorce like you can a marriage. There are options to try to appeal the divorce but these are extremely difficult and usually only change the conditions of a divorce, not actually undo it. Couples that want to be married but have had their divorced finalized, even just a day beforehand, will need to remarry.

Bergen County Divorce Attorneys – 201.419.6223

You should only be comfortable with completing a divorce that you approve. If you need to try to petition to cancel a divorce, or want to switch it to contested, talk to Moskowitz Law Group, LLC and our friendly team of divorce lawyers in Hackensack. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.