Couples in New Hampshire that believe the “irreconcilable differences” causing their separation can somehow be made reconcilable, thereby allowing them to get un-divorced, may want to think twice. The state’s Supreme Court recently sustained a lower court decision that refused to vacate the divorce of a New Castle couple who had previously been married for 24 years.
Thomas McCarron and ex-wife, Terrie Harmon, appealed to the court that their divorce decree was a mistake as they had reconciled and are once more a couple. Unfortunately, the justices, in a unanimous decision issued in December 2, 2015, ruled that given their circumstances, the law only allows them to grant divorces, and not reverse them.
Laws for Retracting Divorces
Enough couples change their mind about their divorces that many states have legislation to deal with the issue.
Courts in Kentucky, Maryland, Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Illinois can vacate divorces, provided they are retracted within a certain period after being first granted, or under certain instances at the request of couples.
Other states, however—like New York, South Dakota, and New Hampshire—, state they have no authority to undo the divorce proceedings. Joshua Gordon, defense attorney for the lower court’s ruling, said that allowing McCarron and Harmon to reverse their divorce could set a precedent that undermines the finality of all divorces granted in the state.
He argues that divorce proceedings are a unique and often turbulent area of litigation. He adds that for many divorced couples, knowing that their divorce is permanent goes a long way in finding peace of mind.
Fortunately, not all is lost for Harmon and McCarron, as they always have the option of remarrying.
The couple had been married since 1989 and was officially divorced in July 2014. They filed a joint motion to retract their divorce in March that same year. The couple has yet to return phone calls or issue a statement on what they plan to do next.
Exemptions to the Law
New Hampshire law actually allows for divorces to be retracted when factors like fraud, misfortune, accidents, or errors come into play. Gordon, however, said that these conditions were not found in the Harmon-McCarron divorce, and that any financial consequences claimed by the couple were of their own doing.
Gordon believes that the couple wants to vacate their divorce decree for sentimental reasons and partially because of business interests that would be more complicated in a divorce and remarry than simply undoing a divorce.
If there are any lessons that can be taken from this story, it’s that couples should think hard when planning on ending their marriage, never taking divorce proceedings lightly.
Learn more about the consequences of filing for divorce by getting in touch with the family lawyers of Lyttle Law Firm. Call our legal team at 512-215-5225 to schedule a consult or fill out our online contact form.