A common question asked by clients seeking to end their marriage is something along the lines of: “What if I file for divorce and then we reconcile?”
This phenomenon has been common enough that the law actually anticipates it as a very real possibility in every case. Check the rules in your jurisdiction, in R.I. a divorced couple is forced to wait for a mandated amount of time after their hearing is complete in order to formalize the process.
Husband and Wife go to court, file for divorce, get a court date (or several, if needed), and finally agree upon the entirety of the marriage at their divorce hearing (children, assets, debts, insurance, alimony). Then, after their hearing, if they have been divorced based on the fact that the parties have suffered irreconcilable differences, they must wait ninety-one days from their hearing date to present the Court with the Final Decree (which officially divorces them). Until that Final Decree is signed by a judge the parties remain married, and they live in accordance with whatever agreement they entered into last they were in court.
Now, if Husband and Wife have been divorced on other grounds such as the fact that they have physically lived separate and apart for at least three years then the tables turn and instead of having to wait ninety-one days to get divorced the parties must present their Orders to the judge within fifty days of their hearing date. Put another way, parties that are divorcing based on irreconcilable differences have a waiting period (91 days) while parties that divorce based on having lived separate and apart have a deadline (50 days).
A note. If you are far enough along in the breakdown of your marriage to visit an attorney regarding a potential divorce, but you can see a situation wherein you reconcile the marriage, you can also consider filing for a separation instead of a divorce. In RI, a separation is essentially the same process as a divorce, except that when the separation filing is complete the parties remain legally married. Therefore, if they want to divorce they must return to court and refile to get divorced.
Speak to an attorney in your jurisdiction to ensure you get legal advice customized to your specific situation.