When your spouse files for divorce, all is not necessarily lost. Sometimes people file out of anger, in the middle of an argument, or just to illustrate to their partner the seriousness of the situation. This is especially true if a party goes to the clerk’s office and files pro se (without counsel). In other cases, both parties are represented and the proceedings may have begun and even become lengthy. In both scenarios, there is the option to reconcile.
Cook County Circuit Court Rule 13.2(g) provides that the County shall establish a reconciliation calendar for parties attempting to reconcile. Assignment to this calendar, per the Rule, may be made by the judge to whom the case is assigned or the Presiding Judge, by written agreement of both parties. The agreement shall specifically state that the parties are requesting that proceedings be suspended during the time they are seeking a reconciliation. The petition or agreement shall also be accompanied by a reconciliation plan which shall specifically state what the parties are doing in an attempt to reconcile. During this period, no progress shall be required of the case, except as hereinafter provided.
- All cases on the reconciliation calendar shall be called for status within one year, and if the matter has been on the calendar for twelve (12) months it will be dismissed or returned to the active calendar. If the case has been on the reconciliation calendar for less than twelve (12) months on the status date, then the court may continue the case on the reconciliation calendar for a period not to exceed twelve (12) months. Failure of the petitioner to respond to the status call shall result in a dismissal for want of prosecution.
- Upon motion of either party, the case shall be removed from the reconciliation calendar and returned to the active calendar.
- During the pendency of any case on the reconciliation calendar, all prior orders of court, including access to the court for enforcement and discovery, shall be considered suspended, unless otherwise expressly agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court.
In summary, the court grants the parties a year to work out their differences without risk of having to re-file. If you decide to continue with the divorce, you can start back up right where you left off. If you choose to reconcile for good, you can dismiss the case, or the court will do it for you after twelve (12) months. You will have lost your filing fees, but regained your marriage.