How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask ScottyMacEsq Your Own Question
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16840
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
19487448
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
ScottyMacEsq is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I filed for divorce in California in 1986, but the lawyer never

This answer was rated:

I filed for divorce in California in 1986, but the lawyer never completed the case. Then my husband filed a summary joint dissolution in 1987, but I was never notified to agree/sign. The courts in CA say the dissolution is incomplete. Can we finish the process without starting over? He lives in Georgia and I live in Maryland.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

Do you happen to know whether the case was actually dismissed? Typically "stale" cases are dismissed for "want of prosecution". What that means is that after a certain period of time that nothing happens in a case, such as hearings, filings, etc... then the case is "stale" and put on a "dismissal docket". If the hearing for the dismissal comes up and no one contests the dismissal, the court will dismiss it.

ScottyMacEsq :

IF the case is still "active" (it has not been dismissed for want of prosecution) then you could continue with the case.

ScottyMacEsq :

However, I would frankly be surprised if the case was still active. Every court that I know has a process of rolling stale cases into the dismissal docket to get them off the books.

ScottyMacEsq :

The reason is that judges and courts are actually graded on the speed of the docket, which takes every case into consideration. A really old case would drag down that average.

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, IF it is still active, in that it has not been dismissed, you can just pick up where you left off.

ScottyMacEsq :

But if it has been dismissed, and it has been more than 30 days since it was dismissed, then it would be too late to file a "motion to vacate" the dismissal, and the dismissal would be final. A motion to vacate a dismissal would have to be filed within 30 days of the dismissal being entered.

ScottyMacEsq :

If the dismissal is final, the court actually has no jurisdiction (authority) to reopen the case, and if it were to do so, the divorce would not be legally be valid. Even though a court would enter a divorce decree, doing so without authority would mean you would still be married (which if you're getting a divorce is not something that you would want).

ScottyMacEsq :

In that instance, you could file either in Maryland or Georgia (it would probably be your state if you were to file, because of the convenience).

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you