What Does It Mean When a Divorce Claim is Dismissed in North Carolina?

By July 31, 2019 October 12th, 2021 No Comments

Don’t Want to Divorce?

Many people get cold feet when it comes to divorce. Couples who were sure they could no longer live together might actually work through their problems and realize that they want to stay together. What happens if one of you has already filed claims for custody, support, equitable distribution, to name a few?

Fortunately, North Carolina law makes it fairly easy to ask the judge for a dismissal of any or all claims filed in a case. You should talk to a Wilmington divorce lawyer if you would like to help drafting a motion.

Who Needs to File for Dismissal?

Sometimes, one spouse initially files a complaint and the other spouse later files a counterclaim. In other situations, only one spouse files. A judge will only dismiss a divorce action if the right people request it:

  • If you were the only one who filed a claim, then you must draft and file a request for voluntary dismissal.
  • If you and your spouse both filed against each other, then both of you must draft and file a request for voluntary dismissal.

Identify whether you or your spouse also filed a counterclaim. Sometimes, a wife will file and then a husband counterclaims. In this example, each spouse will need to request a dismissal of their respective petition.

What Does Dismissal without Prejudice Mean?

A judge should grant a properly drafted and filed request for voluntary dismissal. A judge will also grant the dismissal “without prejudice,” which means you are free to file again for later if everything doesn’t work out, subject to certain limitations.

What Happens Next?

Once your case is dismissed, you have no valid pending action. If a judge had set in place temporary orders for child support or post-separation support when you filed, those should end as well.

You should talk with your attorney if you have concerns, especially financial ones. It isn’t unusual for a person to back out of a divorce but then still not want to live with their spouse.

In that situation, you’ll need to find ways to support yourself and your children. For this reason, you need a game plan in place so you can provide for yourself and your family.

Should You Request Dismissal of Your Divorce?

Before requesting dismissal, identify your reasons for requesting one. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • A commitment to save the marriage
  • Fear of losing property or certain benefits if divorced
  • Timing issues (you might be in a better place to divorce later)
  • A sudden move out of state

In some situations, it might be better to soldier through and get divorced. Discuss your circumstances with an attorney.

Speaks Family Law is here for the Wilmington community. We have years of experience in the state’s family courts, and we can walk you through divorce or dismissal. To schedule a consultation, please call 910-408-7253.