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How can a judge just dismiss a divorce case because the respondent refuses to do anything? Is there anything I can do?

Columbia, MO |

My husband refused to pay his half of the mediation because he "shouldn't have to pay or pay for child support." Now, after all this time and money, the judge responded that if they don’t have proof of mediation by May, it’s cause for dismissal of my case. How is it justice that a judge will throw out my case because my ex is an unemployed broke loser?

So now I can't get a divorce or move on with my life just because he doesn't feel like participating? You can't tell me this is the first time a respondent has refused to participate. I’m still confused that he has showed no interest in speaking on his behalf.

I filed for dissolution of marriage in Missouri. I did everything required of me, filed out all the forms, paid, had him served, took a focus on the kids class, and took a litigant course. We were going to do mediation until he refused to pay. I showed up with my half of the payment and ready.

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Attorney answers 1


It sounds like you're doing this by yourself, which under the circumstances is probably unwise. If you do not have an attorney, you should hire one, who will be able to at least get a motion in front of the court explaining that the respondent refuses to participate in mediation and perhaps that can get the case set for trial. If the case is dismissed, you have to start all over again, so it's worth talking to an attorney.

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Michael J. Kruse

Michael J. Kruse


I agree with everything Mr. Brogdon stated. I would only add that in answer to your question the Judge can dismiss it because you are in a jurisdiction that, apparently, has mandatory mediation. You can not just pick up a copy of pro se (do it yourself) documents and prosecute a divorce case. Understand that attorney who do not practice in the area of domestic relations (divorce) would have difficulty in processing a divorce. Not all jursidictions required mediation and this requirement is not set by state law (which is why you can not choose any DYI documents) it is controlled by what is called "local rules" and each judcial circuit has their own set of local rules and they are all different in some respect. Either pay your husband half of the mediation and complete the mediation (asking the court later in the divorce for reimbursement) or, better yet, hire an attorney!!!