An interesting case was recently decided by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire. Terrie Harmon and her husband Thomas McCarron were granted a divorce by the NH Courts due to irreconcilable differences following a 24-year marriage. After the court issued the final judgment of divorce, the spouses decided they wanted to remain married. So, they petitioned the court to vacate its order granting the divorce. The family trial court (and Supreme Court) ruled that New Hampshire statutory law does not provide for vacating a grant of divorce except for fraud, mistake, accident or misfortune. Some other states will generally allow for vacatur in limited circumstances.
The case presented an interesting procedural twist since both parties are in agreement with the relief sought (vacatur). So the court appointed an amicus curiae to represent the “opposition” (essentially the opinion of the family court).
It is not clear why the couple sought to vacate the divorce rather than remarry. The amicus attorney suspected it was due to some business issues that would be better dealt with without the divorce and remarry and perhaps sentimentality.
The general rule of thumb is this: if you tell the court something under oath (like filing a complaint to divorce), they tend to believe you. If things were not truly “irreconcilable” before the court granted final judgment for divorce, they should have withdrawn the complaint. Harmon is also an attorney.
HT to my colleague Hanan Isaacs.