Marital reconciliation happens when two individuals are separated but have not gone through the final stages of divorce, and one party makes a good faith offer to return to the household and live together once again as spouses.
An offer to reconcile cannot be made in an effort to defraud the other party or to avoid a pending legal burden such as alimony. It is important that an individual in the position making the offer be extremely sincere and that it comes directly from them and not legal counsel or another individual. This offer, if made in good faith, will bar a divorce complaint on the basis of desertion by the other spouse. If the offer is found to have been made in bad faith, the injured party will not be barred from seeking a divorce under these grounds, regardless of any statutory time limitations on filing. Additionally, no spouse is obligated to accept such an offer and refusal will allow them to continue to seek a divorce (if so desired).
If the party accepts the offer, a few things will happen. First, any claim for alimony, support, or alimony pendent lite will be eliminated. Second, the spouse who accepts will lose the ultimate right to claim themselves as the injured party in the equitable division phase of divorce proceedings (if the reconciliation fails and the couple ultimately pursues a divorce). Therefore, acceptance may ultimately reduce this individual’s equitable distribution. Finally, there will be a loss of right to entry of final decree by this individual.
Ultimately, it is very important that both individuals want to reconcile, in good faith, and want to make the marriage work. If a reconciliation fails, it can be highly detrimental to divorce proceedings.