Spouses considering a divorce often have second thoughts, and many choose to give the marriage another chance before calling it quits. For those who try to reconcile after a petition for divorce has been filed in court, it’s important to keep in mind how this may affect the case from a legal perspective. In In re Marriage of Honarkar, the Fourth District Court of Appeals recently looked at one of these issues: the application of the five-year dismissal rule.
Husband filed a petition for divorce in September 2000, alleging that the couple had separated two months earlier. They’d been married for 16 years at the time and had two children. Wife responded to the petition by arguing that the couple had, in fact, not separated. Nothing further was filed and no action taken until Wife filed an amended response nearly six years later. This time, she said the parties had separated in December 2005. She also filed a motion asking the court to rule on custody of the children and support.
After Husband failed to respond to Wife’s motion and didn’t appear at the scheduled hearing, the court entered a November 2006 order granting the couple joint custody of their minor child and requiring Husband to pay Wife more than $24,000 per month in child and spousal support.