When Robert and Jamie Semulka got divorced, Robert agreed to pay Jamie $40,000 in installments. He also agreed to contribute to their children’s college education.
Two years after the divorce, the couple moved back in together. They stayed together for nearly a year before once again separating.
After the second separation, Robert refused to abide by the divorce agreement. He claimed that the couple’s reconciliation had nullified the divorce proceeding, and that by moving back in with him, Jamie had given up her right to enforce the agreement.
But the Pennsylvania Superior Court said, “Not so fast.”
In Pennsylvania, a divorce agreement is treated as a contract, the court said – and nothing in the contract said that it would stop being valid if the couple got back together.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, a couple got divorced after 24 years of marriage. They reconciled shortly afterward, and asked a court to undo their divorce.
But the New Hampshire Supreme Court said no. It said that while New Hampshire law allows judges to grant divorces, there’s nothing in the law that allows them to undo divorces.
So while the couple can remarry, they can’t simply wipe the divorce off the books.
The law on reconciliation varies from state to state, but these two cases show that sometimes, what’s done can’t be undone.