If the petitioner in a divorce action hasn’t followed through to get judgment, can the respondent do anything?

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If the petitioner in a divorce action hasn’t followed through to get judgment, can the respondent do anything?

I want the divorce that my wife initiated. I want to move forward, as agreed. We have a notarized agreement, and I’ve already responded to the initial petition. She needs to file for judgment, but for some reason she has stalled and is not completing the process. I’d like to know if there’s anything I can do as the respondent. Do I have to start from the beginning again, and file as petitioner? Will I have to pay the fees we’ve already paid? I’d like to finalize this smoothly, but it seems as petitioner, she is the only one who can move things along. Anything I can do?

Asked on September 3, 2010 under Family Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am assuming that you are representing yourself in this matter?  No attorney?  Ok, so every state has "procedural" requirements which include the filing of the petition and answering.  According to California procedure you should have had a initial conference of hearing within 25 days of the filing. If the matter proceeded through discovery phase you should have had a settlement conference as well.  Are you past all that? If not and if the matter is at a standstill, there are generally ways for parties to ask for additional conferences before the court.  If you do not have an attorney I would write a letter to the court asking for a conference as the matter has come to a halt and you wish it to proceed and you need the court's guidance to do so.  Send the letter to the Judge and copy your wife or her attorney.  Otherwise it won't be proper.  That may be enough to move things or at least advise the court that you are almost there.  Although it is not really proper YOU can ask to submit the judgement of divorce with the paperwork.  See what they say.  Good luck.


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