When you’re in the midst of the divorce process, sometimes you realize that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and decide that divorce is not what you really want. As we see from Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, it can sometimes be confusing deciding whether or not divorce is really the best option. After all, if you made the commitment to be together forever, it is very emotionally difficult to take the final step to end that commitment. In general, once you make the agonizing decision to file for divorce, you have considered all of your options. If you are one of the few who realizes before you take the final step that you and your spouse are meant to be, congratulations! However, before you make that decision consider the following issues:
•1. Until you are finally divorced, reconciliation can impact the process of your divorce. In Pennsylvania, the date of separation, which is the measuring stick for purposes of determining equitable distribution and the waiting period for divorce, is based on the day on which you are living “separate and apart” from your spouse. If you reconcile (this could include fully moving back in together, or could mean reinitiating a sexual relationship) this could change your date of separation, which could mean that you could potentially get less in equitable distribution, or have to wait longer to get divorced.
•2. Reconciliation could impact your right to alimony, alimony pendente lite (APL), and spousal support. If you get back together, you are not maintaining the separation required for an award of spousal support or APL. Alimony terminates upon the resumption of “cohabitation” which could include getting back together with your spouse.
•3. If you are already divorced, then check your marriage settlement agreement to see if there is a term about the impact of reconciliation on any property or support. Our Pittsburgh family lawyers, when drafting marriage settlement agreements, often include a provision about the effects of reconciliation on property division, stating that the reconciliation will not affect the way that the property was divided.
It is good to realize that divorce was a mistake before it is finalized. Our PA attorneys are always happy to hear about happy endings for our clients. However, before making the final decision, contact our Pittsburgh divorce attorneys to be sure that you fully understand the effects of your decision under Pennsylvania divorce law.