Home LAWYERING DIVORCE LAWYERS & LAW TOPICS PENNSYLVANIA: Can Jon Gosselin legally stop the divorce and reality show? Let’s...

PENNSYLVANIA: Can Jon Gosselin legally stop the divorce and reality show? Let’s ask New York Divorce Attorney

Can Jon Gosselin legally stop the divorce and the reality show? “Yes and no,” says New York divorce attorney M. Lewis. (www.mynewyorkdivorceattorney.com).

Jon takes kids to the park Source: Flickr TVSnark's photostream
Jon takes kids to the park Source: Flickr TVSnark's photostream

Any party can file a divorce action and any party can move to dismiss the divorce action. If Kate filed the divorce, Jon can move to dismiss for any number of reasons, including lack of proper service of the petition, lack of personal jurisdiction, lack of grounds. If however, Jon had put in an answer to the divorce petition (assuming Kate is the plaintiff) then issue has been joined and what that means is that we now have a case on the court’s docket. It  is not so easy for Jon to “stop the divorce” at that point since he is the defendant and he has answered the petition (but did not seek to have the petition dismissed.) The easiest way for him to stop the divorce at that point is for him and Kate to stipulate to “discontinue” the action and that does not seem to be something that Kate wants to do. So if Kate is the plaintiff, I am not sure how Jon can unilaterally, “stop the divorce.” That is not making a lot of sense to me. When you say he “stopped the divorce” I really just don’t know what to make of that. I mean, has his attorney made a motion to the court? If so, maybe he is challenging grounds and moving to dismiss or something. It’s really hard to speculate without more cold, hard facts.

However, if Jon is the plaintiff, Jon can withdraw the divorce action. In other words, whomever is the plaintiff can just discontinue their case. Or try to. Because I believe in New York at least, even the plaintiff could have some trouble pulling back a divorce after issue has been joined. So let’s say Kate is the plaintiff and she serves Jon with divorce papers. Jon answers the petition and puts in a verified answer with counter claims. Now, let’s say, hypothetically, after Jon answers, Kate decides she doesn’t want a divorce and tries to withdraw her divorce petition. Can this happen? No. Not so easily for Kate in a situation like that if Jon wants to go ahead with the divorce. He can proceed against her under that same index number even if she changed her mind.

As to the issue of the reality show. Since it does not appear that Kate has temporary legal custody of the children, then yes. Jon can stop the show. Because without a court order giving Kate sole legal custody, both parents presumably have the same rights to make legal decisions for the children. Kate can decide she will be in the reality show with the children without Jon. Yes, of course. But Jon can turn around and say the children can’t be. And what you now have is a custody battle. So the parties’ attorneys have to go back to court and make motions to have the court give one or the other sole legal and physical custody. But even so, the other side can get the court to “stay” all decisions involving the show and so, basically, what that means is that the show, TLC and Kate are pretty much in limbo till a final order comes down. And that could be months or even years from now.

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