How to Dismiss a Divorce in California

by Morris Armstrong

People who file for divorce sometimes have a change of heart and wish to stay married. Perhaps you have had counseling and realize the issues can be worked out, or maybe you realize that economic conditions are such that a divorce is unwise right now. The reason is not all that important according to the law. California provides a relatively simple process that allows people to terminate the divorce process and dismiss the case.

Download the proper forms from the California Courts website (courts.ca.gov): CIV-110, Request for Dismissal and CIV-120, Notice of Early Dismissal and Proof of Service. Complete the forms and print three copies of each. Use only blue or black ink if you're completing the forms by hand. If your spouse initiated the suit or filed a response, answer or cross complaint, he must also sign form CIV-110.

Deliver the three copies of form CIV-110 to the clerk's office of the court in which your case was filed. After the court has processed these copies they will be returned to you.

Have one copy of each form served to your spouse. You may not serve or mail the papers yourself, but may use anyone else as long as they are at least 18 years of age. It does not have to be a sheriff or process server, and can simply be a friend. Whoever serves the forms must sign a copy of CIV-120 and give it back to you.

File the CIV-120 forms with the court. You will receive a stamped copy back. Retain it with your records.

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  • You should consult an attorney to advise you on what rights you may be giving up by filing for dismissal of the divorce. Your case may not be dismissed if there is a temporary restraining order in effect or if there are spousal support or child support orders.

About the Author

Morris Armstrong of Armstrong Financial Strategies, a small investment advisory firm in Connecticut, has been writing since 2001. He has written for Multex Investors (now part of Thompson Reuters), FiLife, and "Financial Planning Magazine." He also serves as a resource to other journalists in the areas of personal finance and divorce. Armstrong earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Pace University.

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