Case Dismissal Q&A
- I am not sure if I want to continue with my divorce. Can I dismiss my divorce?
Yes. Rule 46 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure discusses the dismissal procedures for a family law case.
- What types of cases can be dismissed? Can any type of family law case be dismissed?
Absolutely. The case can be a dissolution, custody issue, child dispute issue, or any other family law issue that could arise.
- I would like to voluntarily dismiss my family law case. What are the rules for this?
There are a couple of different requirements depending on your situation. If you are the Petitioner in the matter, you can file a notice of dismissal at any time before the other party has filed a response. Another option is if you and the other party jointly wish to dismiss the case, you can submit a stipulated dismissal signed by all the parties. For example, if you and your husband wish to continue working on the marriage, you can jointly request the case to be dismissed.
- What if the other party has already filed a response? Can I still request a dismissal?
Yes. However, it is more difficult for it to be granted. You would need to file a motion that includes why the case should be dismissed. The court will determine if there are proper grounds to do so.
- Can the court dismiss my case without my approval?
Yes. There are a number of deadlines that you must meet. If those deadlines are not met, the court can involuntarily dismiss your case. For example, you must have something occur within 120 days of filing your petition. You must serve the other party within that time frame. Also, if there is no hearing set, you must file a Motion to Set within that time frame. Otherwise, the court may inform you that the case will be dismissed within 60 days. There are some exceptions to this, however. If there is a motion for summary judgment or motion for judgment on the pleadings, or for genetic testing, the court will usually extend the 120-day time frame.
- What if there is a third party involved in my case or a counterclaim?
The same requirements apply to third parties and counter claims. If a third party has made a responsive pleading, it will be more difficult to dismiss the case. You should try to have it dismissed prior to the response being filed.
- Does the dismissal set aside any of my previous judgments?
No. Anything that became a court order stays a court order until it is modified and a new order is entered.
- What do I do if my case was involuntarily dismissed? Do I have to refile?
It depends. Sometimes the court will require you to refile and pay the filing fees again if your case has been involuntarily dismissed. If your case has been involuntarily dismissed, however, you can file a Motion to Reinstate. You will want to explain in your motion why the court should reinstate your case. Usually, you will want to address that there is a time-sensitive issue or it will be a financial burden to have to pay the filing fees again.