Per La. Civ. Code art. 104, “[t]he cause of action for divorce is extinguished by the reconciliation of the parties.”
The concept of “reconciliation” can be thorny and confusing for a spouse who has filed for divorce. If you are in doubt as to what to do, where to reside, or how to interact with your spouse during the pendency of your divorce, it would be wise to retain counsel and discuss this issue with your attorney. Our family law attorneys are able to clearly and thoroughly advise you of the “dos and don’ts” of dealing with your ex.
The typical standard to keep in mind is set forth in Bishop v. Bishop, 712 So.2d 697 (La. 5th Cir. 1998): circumstances must show the spouses’ mutual intention to resume their marital relationship in order for alleged reconciliation to interrupt continuity of the period of separation, once a petition for divorce has been filed.
Essentially, reconciliation requires cohabitation and a resumption of marital status. Simply interacting with your spouse during your divorce case is not considered “reconciliation,” nor is sporadic sexual contact.
Reconciliation is a defense to divorce, which means that if your spouse doesn’t want to get divorced, then he or she can prevent the divorce if they can prove that you have reconciled. In that case, the time you spent living separate and apart prior to reconciliation will not count toward the time requirements for a no-fault divorce.
In a divorce based on fault, the repercussions of a reconciliation are even more profound, possibly rendering the prior fault moot. Given the impact that a for fault divorce has on alimony and other issues, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as possible after you learn of your spouse’s fault, such as adultery or commission of a serious felony.