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Why would a divorce case be dismissed?

November 6, 2016 Blog

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Why Would A Divorce Case Be Dismissed?
When a couple decides to divorce, they agree to severe their relationship legally. This requires a complicated court process, especially when children and marital property are involved. Once a petition for divorce is filed, it typically takes several months to complete. There are some instances where a divorce case could be dismissed before a judgement from the court is issued. Below are some instances in which a divorce case may be dismissed.

Withdrawal From The Petitioner

A divorce case may be dismissed if the person who filed for divorce withdraws the request. This can be done if the respondent did not answer the divorce petition. In this instance, the party asking for the divorce files a formal request to withdraw the divorce petition. If the other party in the divorce filed an answer to the original divorce petition, both parties must sign the withdrawal request at the courthouse. A voluntary dismissal can only be obtained if a judgement has not been entered in the case.


The court may move to dismiss a divorce case if no activity has been made in a certain period of time, which is typically one year from the filing date. In most states, both parties involved in a divorce must make a sincere effort to keep the case moving toward resolution. If this is not done, the court can dismiss the case. Before dismissal, the court must notify both parties involved.

Improper Filing Procedures

Couples who want to divorce must file the petition for divorce in the proper county where they reside. However, the court system places certain restrictions when it comes to jurisdiction. If the couple filing for divorce has moved from state-to-state or has lived in numerous counties in one state, they may accidentally file the petition in the wrong county. A divorce petition may also be dismissed if the couple has filed for divorce in another county or state.

When Can A Divorce Petition Not Be Dismissed?

There are certain instances in which a divorce petition cannot be withdrawn or dismissed. Once the case has made it to a certain point, it cannot be altered. Some instances in which a divorce case cannot be dismissed by the court include:

  • A Final Judgement Has Already Been Entered
  • There Is An Order For Child Support
  • A Hearing For A Protective Order Is Pending
  • A Protective Order Is Already In Place
  • An Order For Spousal Support Has Been Entered
  • A Hearing Date Has Been Set Forth In Court

Can I Refile For Divorce If My Case Was Dismissed?

The answer to this question depends on the laws in the state where you live. However, in most states you can refile a petition for divorce after having it voluntarily dismissed by paying an additional filing fee. All of the paperwork regarding the pleadings must be done again at the time of refiling. If the divorce case was dismissed with prejudice, then it cannot be refiled.

The laws regarding divorce in family court can be difficult to understand. It is often frustrating for both parties to weave their way through the legal process. If your divorce case was dismissed and you wish to refile, contact an attorney for advice. An attorney who is experienced in family law can review your case and the documents filed to determine why your case was dismissed. He can assist you in filing new documents if your case can be refiled. Hiring an attorney to help you through this trying time may lessen the stress associated with complicated family issues and help you move toward a brighter future.



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