Plenty of people have seen a nasty divorce play out, but sometimes the couple calls it off before everything is finalized. Sometimes it's for reasons that make people genuinely happy, other times it's for reasons that would depress us to the core. These are stories of people calling off the divorce, lightly edited for clarity.
On A Mission From God
“I handle a lot of divorces in my practice, and typically the ones that get called off are the younger couples that decide they did not make a good enough effort to save the marriage. Half the time, I’ll see the client again in about six months. The other half seems to work out.
The only case that stands out in my memory is a case that was nearing the end… both attorneys had put in a lot of work. Mediation had been semi-successful, and we were fairly confident we were going to be able to settle the divorce without a full-blown trial, but we knew that a couple issues might have to be decided by the judge. It was clear that the divorce was going to happen though.
One day, I got a call from my client. He told me he didn’t want the divorce anymore, and he gave me his reason why. I informed him that we couldn’t stop the divorce from happening if his wife wanted to press forward. He told me his wife wanted to call off the divorce as well for the same reason. I called the wife’s attorney, and he informed me that his client wanted to call off the divorce as well… for the same reason.
Apparently, both parties had been visited by God on the same night, and he demanded that they honor their vows and make the marriage work. Keep in mind both parties have spent a lot of time and money already. I asked the other attorney what his thoughts were, and he said, ‘Who are we to argue with God?’
We had a good laugh, and they are still married to this day.”
Ten Years In The Making
“When I was a kid, my neighbor’s dad ran off (went to get smokes and never came back). He was a rich banker type and his wife was a harried stay at home mom with three boys about my age.
About ten years later, she was working as a real estate agent making decent money. She lost weight, dresses nice, etc. Basically the hot mom next door. She has a fiancé but is technically still married so starts the legal proceedings.
Guy comes back to appear in court, sign papers, etc. and falls head over heels in love again with his estranged wife.
She takes him back and dumps the fiancé.
My friends, the three boys down the street, hated their dad for leaving and couldn’t believe their mom took him back.”
Worked Out I Guess
“Down to the last two cases for the judge to hear for the day, and they could not have been more different. The first one was a 10+ year divorce where the two parties could not stand the sight of one another. Over the course of their case, the parties were belligerent to one another, the other party’s legal counsel, and even towards the children if it seemed that they were ‘on the wrong side.’ Throughout their many appearances in court, I honestly wondered what they were going to do with all the free time of not being in litigation when this was all over.
Second couple was much younger, they did not have lawyers, and it was their first appearance for their divorce.
During the first case’s proceedings, the second couple stepped outside (at first I thought it was for the other couple’s privacy) and didn’t come in until the very end of the first couple’s hearing. When they were called in, they just walked in and said they didn’t want to pursue the divorce until they gave their marriage a better shot. They realized things could be much, much worse and seeing a disastrous divorce put things into perspective.
I did not see the second couple again while I worked at the courthouse but eventually saw them at the local supermarket a month or so later with their kids so I guess it’s working out so far.”
Paperwork Is The Worst
“My husband and I filed for divorce around year seven (seven-year itch?) But after decided to try counseling. It actually really helped and so life went on.
About a year later, the divorce attorney we jointly filed with called to ask if we wanted to come in to finalize the paperwork and finish the process. We had completely forgotten about the paperwork and such, and yes, the lawyer was both happy and surprised that we decided against the divorce.
Took a little while to get the automatic child support situation straightened out with the state though.”
“I worked in family law for a while and one client that stuck out was this chill rasta guy whose wife was divorcing him because of his many affairs. Now, this couple were in their 70s at the time, so I thought it was a bit weird that she waited so long.
When we got to court, we had to wait a few hours for the hearing. My client and his (soon to be) ex-wife spent the whole time cuddling and joking with each other. They were obviously still very much in love. After the hearing I talked to him about it, and he told me that they weren’t really divorcing over the affairs. Both of them had had lots of affairs throughout the marriage, and they were in a quasi-open relationship.
No, the reason they were divorcing was that he had gotten busted for possession too many times and because of this, he had managed to rack up a bunch of debts and pending criminal matters. They had decided that if they got divorced she wouldn’t have to worry about his debts and he figured he could delay the criminal proceedings by reason of family hardship, possibly until he died.
I don’t think their plan holds water but it was what they wanted to do, so we helped them through a ‘very’ amicable divorce.”
“There was this one couple that was 100% set on a divorce. They were arguing about who would get what and what would happen to their kid and the dog. They decided that the kid would move from house to house every year, because the dad was moving far away. Then they look at the dog, they both loved the dog more than anything, the one problem was the dog couldn’t go in planes. The dog brought them both back together and from what I heard they didn’t argue again.”
The Kids Are Not All Right
“My parents called off their divorce after my half-sister admitted she lied about what my dad did. That was about 14 years ago and my parents are happier than ever. She said that my dad (her dad died in a gang related accident) abused her and tried to groom her. My mom packed up and took us back to my grandma’s house where we lived for about a year. My sister only admitted she lied because she wanted to be with her friends again. My sister ended up moving with her grandma in Texas.”
Broke Family Or Broken Family?
“This divorce was absolutely violent, chaotic, and tumultuous. I was 8 or 9 when it happened, and at least once a week there would be an absolutely horrendous fighting match. Their mutual hatred for each other, and for me and my sister, was only interspersed with my mother’s seizures, as she has a brain tumor. Around this time, she had almost choked herself to death twice, with my dad saving her life. This is when she had the removal surgery.
Things got worse and worse, though, and I was especially the source of blame (I have mild autism, and this was much more pronounced as a child. My mother had essentially spoiled me out of her concern for me, while my dad is more of the tough love type. This caused contentions), and I had heard very often how I had destroyed the family. I was left a lonely and confused child, caught in the middle of endless screaming matches, borderline physical violence, and I was the center of blame for it all.
Then there was a court hearing. Almost Christmas, I was 11. I was enjoying a stay with my grandparents when it happened. I had to wait for what seemed like hours, and I was never informed on what happened. All of a sudden, I have to go to my other grandparents indefinitely. My dad had won custody.
I didn’t get to see my mom that Christmas. It broke my heart.
Then, I spent weekends with my dad in the mountains. I never liked him, I still don’t. He’s quick to anger. It caused endless screaming matches between me and him, because he had blamed me and my mother for wrecking the family. He’s never wrong, even when he is. At this point I had been emotionally stunted enough from my ASD, but this discord had made it worse.
Eventually, this goes on and on for a year or so. Apparently, my parents come to the realization that this divorce thing isn’t working. My parents, despite making a lot of money individually, had realized that they had made a downwards spiral that never needed to happen. My mom needs my dad to help her navigate things with her health and finances, and my dad needs her out of love.
Eight years later, and things have been unstable for the whole time. I honestly think the divorce should have happened. There is no way that this could ever have worked out well from the start.”
A Love Like Homer And Marge Simpson
“My parents almost got a divorce. My dad was getting treated for prostate cancer, and they had him on estrogen which, as my Mother described it, basically put him through menopause.
He became depressed, super moody, isolated, and would get angry over nothing. At one point he told my mom that he wanted a divorce.
But then he changed his mind after the treatment stopped having such a negative effect on him and was incredibly sorry to my mom for how he had acted. About six months after they patched things up, they renewed their vows and announced it to me by making it sound like they were going to get a divorce at first. My response was, ‘If you two weren’t my parents, I’d smack you both once my heart settled down.’ I ended up performing the ceremony.
Actually, after all this I did tell them as a kid that I always saw their marriage as like Homer and Marge Simpson’s since those two obviously really loved each other. My parents were NOT Simpsons fans, so they didn’t see it as much of a compliment (especially my dad aka Homer) until I showed them a few episodes.
It also helped that both their song and Homer and Marge’s was ‘Happy Together’ by The Turtles and that my parents got a quickie wedding in Reno like Homer and Marge at the Las Vegas wedding chapel (only difference was that they didn’t have a Bart on the way).”
Kept My Mouth Shut
“My parents wanted to divorce when my brother was in middle school. When they told us about their decision, and how they were already talking to lawyers, my brother spoke up.
‘YOU CAN’T get a divorce!’ my brother shouted. ‘I’m the ONLY kid at my school who doesn’t come from a broken home!’
While not the only kid, there were a LOT of children from broken homes. My brother told them about how it affected his friends, and he doesn’t want to go through the same thing. So, mom and dad, after talking about it, canceled their divorce hearings, and stayed together. They went to counseling, workshops, therapists, and suffered another 18 years together. Arguing, yelling, disagreeing, it was horrible between them, but they tried to keep my brother and I out of it.
Oh, they did eventually get a divorce, after I graduated from high school and moved out. They got remarried, but my mom told me something that sets her off to this day.
When she called my brother to tell him about the divorce, he had this to say: ‘Oh, that’s good! You and dad were miserable, and I’m glad you two are taking time apart now!’
Oh, it set her off SO MUCH! Here was the little boy who didn’t want them to break up, telling them that it was a good thing that they were. he had begged them and begged them not to separate, and he was telling her that divorce was a good thing now. She agrees that it was a good thing they were divorcing, but still, it set her off about how my brother was so happy about it when he was sad at the idea then.
I wanted to point out that, in the end, it HAD been her and dad’s decision that they stayed together for so long, but I wisely kept my mouth shut.”
Rubs Me The Wrong Way
“When me and my friends were at the ripe old age of 12, we came across some rubbers (sealed of course). We each took one, as if we thought it was possible for stupid prepubescent kids to get laid. My one buddy goes home, rubs one out into the rubber, and then proceeds to throw it in the trash can. His mom finds it the next day, thinks it belongs to his dad, her husband, and FLIPS OUT thinking her husband has been cheating on her. The shame and embarrassment was too much, so my friend didn’t say a word, They go to get divorce lawyers, and start filing paperwork. The next couple days, before they finalized the divorce, my buddy has to come clean and tell his parents that he jerked off into a rubber, and his dad was not in fact cheating. His parents are still married to this day!”
Cried For Hours
“They never got to the point of lawyers, but when I was 8 my mom, myself and two older brothers went on a cross-country road trip to Michigan for a family reunion. I didn’t find out until my 20s that during that trip, my dad was supposed to move out of the house, and they’d be done with each other. He even had an apartment with two roommates lined up. I didn’t even have a clue they were fighting.
When we got home, he was still there. He greeted us smiling and us kids didn’t know any different. I don’t remember anything after that, but my mom said that she kind of broke down with hopelessness. She just left the house and walked three miles to her friend’s house and cried there for hours. She said it’s because she had her life going forward planned out, and was ready to move on, but I guess he decided for them both to remain together. I didn’t ask for more details, that had been hard enough to hear. Although, since we are on the same page about how much of a selfish tool my dad is, I asked her why they didn’t just get divorced and her justification was that he supports us financially. Her mom never got help from her dad after their divorce so my mom honestly thought she’d be SOL as well. I didn’t really understand because it was the 90s and surely he would have paid child support. I suppose I was kind of salty that she chose to stay with my dad, someone who never could accept me and made us feel miserable all the time, so I told her I would have rather grown up ‘poor’ than live with him. At least we would have been free from his dark cloud.”
Stuck It Out
“My parents fully planned on getting divorced back in 2014. My dad racked up credit card debt on stuff for his hobby, then stole the credit card, flew halfway across the country for a ‘work conference.’ There was a lot of evidence suggesting he cheated on my mom the whole time he was there, and before he left, he was trying to talk to freaking 19 and 20 year old girls on Facebook, and just in general made a ton of terrible decisions.
My mom almost divorced him, but I think she realized she couldn’t support herself on disability, so they stuck it out. They’re both doing a little better now, but there are times when I’m over there where you can see a bit of venom left in how they interact.”
“My aunt and uncle recently decided not to get divorced. He’s legitimately crazy and on his fourth wife, she doesn’t speak any English and is with him for his pension.
This divorce started because he ran up a large amount of credit card debt buying worthless art at auction. He wanted to mortgage their shared house to pay it off, but she wouldn’t sign for that (because it would just make a bad situation worse). Thus he wanted to divorce her for not signing and she wanted to divorce him to secure her half of the money from his antics. They recently decided to call it off, though.
My uncle’s logic for calling it off was that he doesn’t want to pay the lawyer’s fees. He doesn’t really care about losing half his money, but he’s not willing to give a cent to the lawyer.
My aunt’s reason was that she realized she’s 13 years younger than him, and that she could just outlive him and get all the money.
So, they remain unhappily married.”
Nobody Buys Their Nonsense
“My absolute trash uncle announced his intent to divorce my aunt (who is just horribly stupid and incompetent) when my grandparents said they were going to move to Arizona. Part of that was their desire to be near my other aunt, who was just starting to have kids ~15 years after the rest of her siblings. The other part was that my grandfather couldn’t handle winter in our state anymore. It aggravated his arthritis so bad he could barely move.
My uncle couldn’t stand the thought of not being able to emotionally abuse my grandparents into free child care and whatnot. He was hoping to stop the move with it. When they moved, the divorce was suddenly forgotten and they went back to pretending they were the perfect couple to try and lord that over everyone.
The problem with that, of course, is that my family is full of couples that genuinely love and support each other and absolutely nobody buys into their nonsense.”
Just Get It Over With
“My parents called off their divorce a few times over the span of 10 years. I wanted them to split up because it was obvious they aren’t meant for each other.
My mom’s reason for not going through with it was a typical, ‘Stay together for the kids’ scenario. Although she and I had a rough relationship during my teenage years and one of the times she told me the divorce was my fault.
My dads reasoning, as we found out later, was a lot more messed up. Each time he asked for a divorce it was because he was cheating and tried to leave my mom for the other woman. But every time the woman would reject him, and he would go back to my mom. It was a different woman each time.
They did finally divorce when I was 17 and it was messy and traumatic for everyone involved. But things are significantly better now that they are not together.”
The Young Student
“My parents called off their divorce
I’m pretty sure they weren’t all that serious about the divorce in the first place, but my dad left in the middle of the night after an argument (we were having money problems so they fought a lot but I don’t think either of them ever left the house until this point). He stupidly went to stay with his much younger, ‘attractive’ student (both adults, my dad had taught her for years at TAFE, she and many other students of his have close relationships with my parents), my mum took this as a personal assault and confirmation that he was cheating so started the divorce process.
My dad got an apartment, they both struggled even more apart. My brother had a school performance and they both came, reconnected, he moved back in that week and got out of his lease. They dropped the divorce.
I was pretty young so there was probably a lot that went on that I didn’t see, but it seemed to me very hasty and not thought through tbh.”
“My grandma’s parents divorced when she was 4 years old. Her mom took her to Denmark to live with her grandparents and her. My grandma grew up, came back to the US (she was still a citizen) and started a family of her own. Her dad apparently got remarried and had four more kids. When the first three of my grandma’s kids were in high school, her mom came back over to live with her (and my grandpa) and help with the kids.
Eventually, after nearly 40 years, my great grandpa was so disillusioned with his new family, he left them (all kids grown) and remarried my great grandma. They lived together happily to their mid-90s and died eight months apart. My great grandma was still kicking, but the doctors said she was so sad after he died, she just let herself go. She basically died of a broken heart. The story wasn’t exactly a bad one, but man it was a weird one.”