The laws and public policy of South Carolina favor marriage and discourage divorce.

We concur in that policy. If married people can resolve their differences and resume their marriage, then they are encouraged to do so. Also, we recognize reconciliation is often impossible or would be detrimental to our client.

If the parties in a divorce case reconcile or make up, then each is considered to have forgiven or condoned any past misconduct of the other. This means that the past conduct can no longer, except in limited cases, be presented to the court.

Some lawyers will advise a client guilty of misconduct to seek a reconciliation and condonation to avoid a poor result in court or to nullify a written agreement. We do not.

The only legitimate reason to reconcile is that two married people want to make their marriage succeed.

If you and your spouse honestly want to reconcile, have your lawyers take steps to protect the rights of each of you if your marriage fails. The innocent spouse needs a reconciliation agreement approved by the court before the case is dismissed.

My Favorite War Stories #4:
Reconciliation Agreement

I represented the wife. Her husband had moved in with another woman. We had a strong case for alimony and a favorable division of property and expected to do well. The night before the temporary hearing, the husband appealed to the wife for a reconciliation. She wanted him back and began to waiver. At the temporary hearing she announced that would reconcile. I insisted as a condition of the reconciliation the husband agree if he left again, the wife would receive the marital home, in which the parties had equity of approximately $100,000, the only major asset of the marriage. The family court judge and the husband's attorney were vocal in their criticism, saying I was trying to break up the marriage and keep the people apart, but they agreed to my condition.

The parties put the reconciliation agreement the court record and the court issued an order of dismissal based upon the agreement. Two months later the husband left. The wife got the house. The husband appealed to the Supreme Court of South Carolina, which affirmed the award of the house to the wife.