dismiss the divorce

In order to stop a divorce once it has been filed, the petitioner would have to file a Request for Dismissal before the spouse (also called the respondent) has responded and prior to a judgment being entered. If the spouse has responded, then he/she would need to be served with the dismissal form and sign it. The petitioner would then file the signed Request for Dismissal with the proof of service and the court would dismiss the divorce.

In California, divorces or legal separations can be dismissed ‘without prejudice’ meaning that once the case is dismissed, either party can file a new divorce or legal separation case again if they so desire. Often when people dismiss their case, they later file again due to an argument or dispute. For this reason, it is best to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer and possibly a counselor before dismissing the case so that there is an understanding as to the problems in the marriage and what is required to address the issues.
It’s important to understand that the court cannot dismiss a divorce or legal separation after the judgment has been entered. Further, the case cannot be dismissed if there is a spousal support or child support order, restraining order or an upcoming hearing date. Be advised that the court will usually dismiss a case on its own after approximately 5 years and when there has been very little activity and no appearances to requests for case review.
Do you have questions about dismissing a divorce or legal separation? Legal Action Workshop has answers. Our knowledgeable divorce attorneys are ready to assist you. We offer affordable low flat fees and confidential lawyer consultations by phone or in person. Call us now @ 1-800-HELP-444!

Reader Interactions


  1. tawna says

    If a divorce is dismissed with prejudice does that mean the couple will never be able to file for a divorce in the future?

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      When it was dismissed, were you the petitioner? If you were, did you serve your spouse? In most cases, the divorce would be dismissed without prejudice. You may have said ‘with prejudice’ by mistake…however, if the spouse did not respond and hence did not sign the dismissal, then he/she could file for divorce. If both spouses signed the dismissal with prejudice then you cannot file for divorce…but there may be a motion that you could file to rectify the situation.
      If the divorce is in California and you wish to discuss, please call us @ 818-630-5503.
      Thanks for contacting Legal Action Workshop

  2. Life Pad says


    I filed the case for divorce now me and my wife reached settlement but she never responded to divorce petition. She is forcing me to dismiss the case with prejudice ? Does that mean I can never divorce her in future. We are in California which is no fault state and i filed the current case with irreconcilable difference! And if I settle with prejudice will it mean that i will be stuck with her forever ? Please advice


    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      Do you still want to divorce? If you do, then you can divorce with an agreement over your issues. I’m not sure why there is this pressure to dismiss…sometimes this is done because the respondent will make it very difficult to serve once the divorce was filed again. No, you will not need to be with her if you do not wish to continue to be married! Please call our office to discuss your case @ 818-630-5503.
      Thank you for contacting Legal Action Workshop

  3. Nick says

    I want to divorce my spouse as soon as possible I made the dumb mistake of filing in this stupid state because I am stationed here when I could have filed in Texas. Because as far as I can tell in TX there is no mandatory 6 months. And CA said they wont hear my case until march and I cannot wait that long do you think it is smart to dismiss the divorce here and start a new divorce in TX because I have a dead line of 3 months. Both my ex and I dont have any shared accounts kids shared depts nothing so what is the best legal action?

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      Will your spouse be cooperative? Do you have a retirement fund from your work? All issues in a divorce need to be addressed. I’m not sure why the court here in CA needs to ‘hear’ your case? If you wish to call us to discuss, we would then be able to answer your questions.
      Thank you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  4. Michael says

    If my spouse put my name as the server instead of her father (same first name) can I request to dismiss the case so I can file where my child is at (they moved it of state) to have a better custody case?

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      I’m not sure how the court would accept service if you are serving yourself? Your spouse would have to file for custody/visitation in the state in which the child lives. It would be best to call us @ 818-630-5503 to determine your best legal option.
      Thank you for contacting Legal Action Workshop

  5. Vincent fanty says

    My wife and me decided we do not want to get divorced we have till the 17 of this month that the signed by the judge order takes place. Can we still stop the divorce???

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      Once the judgment is entered you cannot stop the divorce. It would be best to go to the court with your spouse (you may need to make an appointment due to Covid restrictions) and ask if you both can sign a dismissal. If it’s too late, you would have to remarry.
      Hope this helps!

  6. Susan Miller says

    I filed for divorce and served my spouse, he responded and we had a court date to appearance. But we decieded to stay married. I did not have a lawyer and I did not know I had to fill out paperwork and have my spouse served. We just did not show up. We never started the discovery phase, so does the court automaticlly dismiss the divorce request. or are we divorced?

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      You can dismiss the case as long as both you and your spouse sign the paperwork to do so. This would be the best option because if you do not dismiss, the court will ask that you go to a meeting to explain what is going on in the case. The court could also sanction you if you do not show up. The court can dismiss the case after 5 years.
      Hope this helps!
      Thanks for reaching out!

  7. Deborah says

    I was served with divorce paper’s and the date to reply have not yet came and gone now my spouse say’s that he have stopped the divorce, but I want to proceed with the divorce what steps should I take now? and can he have it dismissed even though I was not given time to respond? we live in California thank you

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      In a divorce, the court could allow your spouse to dismiss since you have not as yet filed a response. It’s best to go to the court to see if in fact a dismissal was entered and approved by the court. If it was, then you could file for divorce. If it was not approved then you could file a response and as such would be ‘in the case’ and can proceed.
      If you have further questions you may call us @ 818-630-5503 to discuss.
      Thank you for contacting Legal Action Workshop!

  8. Anita Morales says

    If the Respondent has been defaulted can a Divorce case still be dismissed by request of the Petitioner in California without the Respondent’s signature?

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      If the respondent has not responded then he/she is not considered ‘in the case’ and as such it is the petitioner’s case. In this instance, the petitioner can file for a dismissal of the case using only his/her signature. It would be best to confirm this with the court in your particular case.
      Hope this helps!

  9. Rachel Stapleton says

    If I am the respondent and there has been no activity in the divorce proceedings, other than the initial filing and response, for 7 years, as the respondent can I request to have the case dismissed? We have each lived separately since the filing in states other than CA. I would like to file in the state in which I currently live.
    Thank you

    • Brenda Platt-Drucker says

      Unfortunately, you cannot dismiss unless your spouse wishes to sign the dismissal. Depending on your issues, this may not be the best option. If the petitioner filed in CA, you can reach out to us. If not, I would suggest speaking with an attorney in the state in which the divorce was filed.
      Hope this helps!

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