How do I reopen a dismissed divorce?

Asked over 4 years ago - Orlando, FL

Our case was originally dismissed by a judge in July 2010 for “lack of service.” However, I received my copy of the petition from her lawyer last week. By signing for the papers, does that start my 20 days to file the answer? If I file an answer, will that reopen the case? Does her lawyer need to file anything to reopen the case?

My wife filed for divorce in November 2009 (we have one minor child). She has no money and is being represented by a pro bono lawyer. I also have no money and was planning on representing myself.

I told her lawyer that it was not necessary to spend money on serving me, that I would accept the papers via the mail, and that I would file my answer immediately. I never received anything in the mail, nor was I served. Our case was dismissed shortly afterwards.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Andrew Lloyd Cameron

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . If you have determined that the case was dismissed in July and it was under the same case number, then it appears that your wife's lawyer has mailed you a petition that is no longer valid. Since you were not served, your failure to answer the petition within 20 days does not create a situation where you can be defaulted. It appears from your question that you are interested in moving the case forward, so it may be best to contact your wife's lawyer and discuss the current status of the case with him. He may be unaware that the case was dismissed, and can take steps to re-file the petition.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.

  2. Vera Bergermann

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . I agree with both of the answers posted here. It is important to know if your divorce case was dismissed by the clerk. Your case can be re-opened.

  3. Ronald Glenn Lieberman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . You should speak to the clerk's office in your county to determine if your divorce case is still active.

    DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State where this charge is filed.

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