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How long does an un-finalized divorce stay on the books?

Houston, TX |

Filed by Texas lawyer in April of 2011. It's September 2012 and we are going through with it instead of reconciliation. Originally i was filing fault due to proven infidelity on his part but we have sold the house that he moved out of this year and stayed seperated for over a year and 1/2 now. Now i just want fairness and don't want to go through the fight of fault. We have one child, 16, living in another city at a boarding tennis school 3 hours away.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. The answer to your question depends on where your divorce petition was filed. In Harris County, the family courts use docket control orders to propel cases along, rather than allowing the litigants and their lawyers control the pace of the case. If, after a reasonable period of time has passed, the court believes the case is not moving forward, it can be dismissed for want of prosecution. It is quite common for divorce cases to be set for final trial or dismissal 8-10 months after the petition was filed, so I encourage you to contact the District Clerk's office to inquire about the status of your petition. You may find that it was dismissed some time ago, and if so, you must refile a new petition.


  2. There is a Texas Supreme Court guideline which states that cases may be dismissed for "want of prosecution" as early as 18 months after filing if there has been no action on the case.


  3. By "stays on the books" you may mean stays as public record. If so, a long time! See http://www.hcdistrictclerk.com/edocs/public/search.aspx. You can open an account and look up old Harris County lawsuits. Really old lawsuits... even dismissed lawsuits...

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


  4. You'd have to look into it but most courts would have dismissed it for lack of progress well before now if your attorney didn't follow up on the proper paperwork to close the case when you decided to reconcile. Most likely, you will need to re-file.

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