Sometimes, divorce isn’t the end-all, be-all for a couple. A 2011 study by the University of Minnesota found that, out of 2,500 divorcing couples surveyed, about 45% of the couples had one or more partners hoping that the marriage might be saved, or that the couple could reconcile. Men were, overall, more interested than women in reconciliation.
There are many reasons why couples may choose to reconcile. But must a couple getting back together re-marry one another, or can they ask the court to vacate and set aside their divorce decree?
The New Hampshire Supreme Court addressed this issue recently, in In the Matter of Terrie Harman and Thomas McCarron, decision published on December 2, 2015. The couple was married in 1989, and divorced in 2014. The trial court granted their final divorce decree on grounds of “irreconcilable differences that caused an irremediable breakdown of the marriage.”
When the couple reconciled and got back together, they petitioned the court to vacate their divorce decree. They argued that since they have both agreed to vacate the decree, the court should reinstate their marriage.
Most states allow courts to vacate a final divorce decree, by statute. New Hampshire, however, doesn’t have a law that allows the court to vacate a final divorce decree by agreement of the parties. The NH Supreme Court agreed that, since no statute applied to this situation, that Terrie Harman and Thomas McCarron could not have the court vacate their divorce decree by choice.
So, what does this mean for a couple divorced in New Hampshire who want to get back together? In general, if the divorce was granted because there were “irreconcilable differences that caused an irremediable breakdown of the marriage,” then the parties cannot agree to put aside the divorce decree. If the couple wants to be married again, then they must remarry.
If, however, the final divorce was granted, and there is evidence to suggest that the divorce decree was granted by fraud, accident, mistake or misfortune, then a court could vacate that final decree, reinstating the marriage.
If you are considering splitting up with your spouse, getting married, or are having marital, custodial, or child support issues of any kind; you should consult with a family law lawyer before making any final decisions. Sometimes those final decisions, can affect your future, and you deserve to have a lawyer help you make the right choices for you and your family. Contact us now for a free confidential review of your situation.
Atty. Brown focuses her practice on Family Law, including: grandparent rights, custody, child support, parenting plans, parental rights, visitation, mediation, guardian ad litem review, guardianships, domestic violence (DV Orders), abuse or neglect, and basically all things Family Court related. Call 603-622-8100 today for a free consultation!