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How long can this go on?

**Disclaimer:  I am not licensed to practice law in the State of Idaho.  I am capable of reading the statutes, however, as are you.  What follows is in no way intended to be legal advice for the State of Idaho, but is provided for informational purposes only.

Because I want you to be aware of things that will particularly affect your pro se (no lawyer/you represent yourself) case, I relate this particular experience today, just having had it come screaming to my attention.  Here’s what happened:

Don't forget to keep track of your case with the court. . .Oops. 😦

A friend of mine in Idaho has been trying to get divorced.  For 2 years.  Sum up:  the wife was not really interested in doing anything that might vaguely resemble reasonable negotiations, and it takes awhile to deal with Crazy.  Just this past week, he finally thought he’d gotten it all done and was just about to submit the documents when he received notice that his case had been dismissed by the court for failure to prosecute.

What does it all mean?  A divorce case (or any other case, for that matter) cannot simply sit on the court’s docket, stagnating, indefinitely.  Under Rule 40(c) of the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure [link to the right in the Idaho Law links section of this blog], any case, with a few exceptions, that hasn’t had any activity on it with the court for 6 consecutive months shall be dismissed by the court.  Dismissal is “without prejudice.”  That means you can go ahead and refile the same thing again, but you get to pay additional fees when you do this, because you are for all intents and purposes starting over again as far as the court is concerned.

Most, if not all, states have some comparable rule.  I’ll post the locations of these as I find them myself.  In the meantime, the Moral of the Story is this:  File Something.  Keep the case alive with the court.  Don’t let the thing stagnate.  My friend will not be letting his die again.

  1. John
    April 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    No such rule in GA. I have one file that has been in litigation for 10 years. Accident date in 1998. No one, and I mean no one, wants to deal with it – including me.


  2. April 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks for the info. I know Utah has one (had a case that was handed off to me early in my practice end up dying a similar death, before I had a chance to do anything with it–it was a 3 year old divorce), though I’m having some difficulty finding exactly where the rule is. Anyone out there have a citation for the Utah rule?

    AND, if you know of the location of a similar rule (or lack thereof) in any other state, please post here in the comments section.



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