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State's high court says "no" to vacating divorce

When most people think about divorce, they view the matter as a firm and final end of the romantic bond between two spouses. In reality, however, many couples will reunite after they have filed for and received a divorce. It is important for couples in Colorado and other states to understand that they may not be able to have the legal end of their marriage reversed in such cases. One state's Supreme Court recently ruled on the matter, and refused to vacate a divorce decree for a couple who want to "undo" their divorce.

The couple were married for 24 years. They filed for divorce in 2014, but soon reconciled. They then approached the court to ask that their divorce decree be vacated, which would essentially turn back the clock and restore their lengthy marriage. The court refused, and the couple appealed the matter.

At the state Supreme Court level, the lower court's decision was upheld. The court found that while the law gives courts the authority to grant a divorce, it does not give the authority to undo divorces. In certain circumstances courts will consider such a move, but only when the divorce was the result of some type of mistake, fraud or accident. In this case, none of those conditions applied, leaving the former spouses with little recourse but to remarry to restore their status as a married couple.

Some in Colorado might wonder why a couple would fight to have their marriage reinstated rather than simply take new vows and start over. There are circumstances in which being part of a long-term marriage is desirable over marrying a second time. An example lies in the ability to claim certain government or employment benefits, or in various business matters. While it is not clear what motivated this couple to seek divorce and then fight to have their marriage restored, it is certainly an interesting case, and one that may be of interest to many spouses who are on the fence about the future of their own marriage.

Source:, "Can a divorce be reversed? New Hampshire court says no", Lois M. Collins, Jan. 12, 2016

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