Divorce is a one-way street

Marie E. Matyjaszek

There are times when I send an e-mail and instantly regret doing so. Some e-mail providers even offer the ability to “unsend” the message within a short few minutes to allow you to exercise that “on second thought…” feeling.

When you initially file a complaint for divorce, there is a waiting period. It can be waived in some circumstances, but most people have to wait it out. In Michigan, it’s six months if you have minor children, and two months without. If there is a chance for reconciliation, it usually occurs during that time frame, and the divorce is dismissed so the couple can work on their relationship. On rare occasions, the couple remarries after the divorce is finalized.

I have never personally handled a case where a couple tried to legally “reverse” their divorce, but that’s exactly what Terrie Harman and Thomas McCarron of New Hampshire tried to do. The couple was divorced in July 2014, having enjoyed 24 years of wedded bliss. Then in March 2015, they joined forces in a court motion, stating that they wanted the divorce voided as they were back together. Basically, it was all one big fat mistake that they wanted fixed.

Like other states, New Hampshire will set aside divorce judgments for specific reasons – fraud, mistake, etc., but none of those fit the circumstances in this case. In the Supreme Court of New Hampshire’s opinion, dated December 2, 2015, the court references one of Terrie’s arguments as being that the divorce will adversely impact financial assets, like Social Security, retirement and inheritance. And, since they are back in love, why ruin the good thing they have going. The Supreme Court didn’t buy that rationale and ruled against the couple, stating that absent statutory authority, the court has no power to vacate a divorce judgment based on the parties’ reconciliation.

One of the more ironic facts of this case is that the ex-wife is an attorney. I’m guessing she doesn’t practice much family law.


Marie Matyjaszek is a family law attorney whose blog site is: http://legalbling.blogspot.com. She can be reached by emailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.