Can You Dismiss A Divorce If You’ve Changed Your Mind After Filing?
A divorce proceeding is a daunting concept and likely one of the most important decisions a couple will make in their lifetime. It is understandable that a spouse may get cold feet and wish to stop a divorce after they have filed a divorce petition with the court.
It is usually possible to stop a divorce at any point before the court signs a Final Decree of Divorce, provided that both spouses are in agreement. Several options are available to spouses that wish to dismiss their divorce as long as the divorce is not yet finalized and both parties agree. Options include filing a notice of nonsuit or waiting for the court to file for dismissal based on an inactive case.
Whether you are unsure about continuing with your divorce or are looking to commence or dismiss divorce proceedings, a family law attorney can help.
Skillern Firm attorneys are sympathetic to the rollercoaster of emotions our clients go through in a divorce, and we provide understanding legal support for whatever route they choose to follow. To discuss your case with an experienced divorce attorney, contact Skillern Firm today at 936-213-8479.
Texas Divorce Mandatory Waiting Period
After filing a divorce petition with the Texas family law court, there is a mandatory waiting period before divorce proceedings can begin. This waiting period is for 60 days and allows couples to change their mind about proceeding with their divorce. Spouses are able to withdraw their divorce papers during this period before divorce proceedings begin.
How To Dismiss A Divorce After You Have Filed
Understandably, divorce is a serious decision in anyone’s life and comes with substantial life changes. It is not uncommon for a spouse to have a change of heart and decide not to go through with the divorce, even after filing the paperwork. If you are the one who initially filed the petition and your spouse has not yet responded or countersued for divorce, you alone are able to file a notice of nonsuit to dismiss your divorce.
Nonsuit Without Prejudice
A Notice of Nonsuit Without Prejudice can be filed with the court to dismiss a divorce at any point during the process, provided the divorce has not yet been completed. The spouse who filed the petition, otherwise known as the petitioner, can file a Notice of Nonsuit Without Prejudice alone if the other spouse has not yet responded to the divorce papers. However, if the other spouse has filed a counter petition or response, both spouses are required to sign a joint notice of nonsuit..
Once signed by the petitioner or both spouses, depending on the circumstances, the voluntary dismissal will be sent to a Judge to sign off. A Notice of Nonsuit is effective on filing and the Court signing an Order Granting the Joint Nonsuit is just a procedural step. If the divorce has been finalized and the Judge signed the final divorce decree, it is too late to file a Nonsuit Without Prejudice. However, couples can remarry should they choose to do so.
Dismissal For Want Of Prosecution (DWOP)
A court may begin the process of a dismissal for want of prosecution if a divorce case has remained inactive for a while. To start the process, the court will issue an intent for dismissal, advising that your case may be closed due to no recent activity. A couple typically has 30 days to respond to the warning, if they do not respond, the divorce will be dismissed. If a case is dismissed by these means, a couple will remain legally married.
If you want the court to dismiss your divorce, you do not need to respond to the warning. However, if you wish to proceed with the divorce, you will need to file a motion to retain the case on the court’s docket to be able to continue with your divorce process.
If you file a motion to retain, likely the court will schedule a hearing in which you will be required to demonstrate that you wish to continue with divorce and provide proof that there has been activity. If the Judge approves, your case can continue. Hiring a divorce lawyer can be a beneficial step to help to prove your intention to the court and prove that you are taking your divorce seriously.
Reasons For A Dismissal For Want Of Prosecution
The court will issue a dismissal for want of prosecution to remove inactive cases from the court and clear out old inoperative cases. Idle cases, or if the court is under the impression that you have no urgency to proceed with your divorce, could result in a dismissal. Once dismissed, a spouse will need to refile a divorce petition and pay the filing fees again if they wish to get divorced.
Common situations that may cause a court to begin a dismissal for want of prosecution include:
- The petitioning spouse did not serve the other spouse with divorce papers.
- Missing divorce process deadlines and hearings.
- The petitioning spouse filed for divorce, and the other spouse has not responded to the petition. The petitioning spouse has then not followed up with the court to proceed with a default judgment hearing to finalize the divorce.
I want to dismiss my divorce, but my spouse doesn’t. What can I do?
Depending on the stage in which you are in your divorce, you may be able to dismiss the divorce proceedings without your spouse’s agreement, if they are yet to file a response to the petition. However, this is only applicable to the spouse who originally filed the petition. Irrespective, even if you are the petitioner and have your divorce dismissed, if your spouse wishes to go ahead with the divorce, they can file a separate divorce petition following the dismissal. In this situation, you are not able to dismiss a divorce without the signed permission of both spouses.
A divorce can be granted in the State of Texas if only one spouse wants to proceed. As such, unfortunately, it is rarely possible to dismiss a divorce unless both spouses are in agreement to remain married. If a divorce is dismissed initially, likely your spouse will file a petition themselves regardless.
What happens once my divorce is dismissed?
Once your divorce is dismissed by means of a Nonsuit or a dismissal for want of prosecution, you and your spouse will remain legally married under Texas family law. Texas law does not recognize legal separation. As such, this is not an option for couples in the state.
It is important to note that filing a Nonsuit does not pause divorce proceedings to allow a couple to attempt to reconcile. Once granted, a Nonsuit dismisses a divorce case from the court, and parties will need to re-file for divorce if they wish to commence the process again.
Provided that your divorce was dismissed ‘without prejudice’, you can refile a divorce petition if you change your mind and wish to go ahead with proceedings in the future. This will also mean that you are required to pay the filing fee again to commence a divorce again.
Skillern Firm Divorce Attorneys
Doubts are normal during the divorce process. Skillern Firm divorce attorneys will support you through this challenging time and help you to have the court dismiss your divorce if that is the route you choose to go down.
Similarly, if you change your mind again and wish to go ahead with your divorce, our expert legal counsel can make the process as stress-free as possible for you and ensure you receive a fair outcome in the divorce settlement.
Skillern Firm’s divorce lawyers understand the unique circumstances of every divorce, and we are there to support our clients every step of the way with any legal services they require during this turbulent time. If you are represented by Skillern Firm, we can help you to legally dismiss your divorce to allow you to remain married. Alternatively, we will advocate for your rights and fight to secure the best possible outcome for you if you proceed with the divorce.
For Help Filing Or Dismissing A Divorce, Schedule A Consultation Today
If you are looking to file for divorce or dismiss divorce proceedings that are already underway, contact Skillern Firm to secure the skilled representation you require. Speak to our legal team today by calling our team at 936-213-8479.