hide my visit

How to Dismiss a Case You Filed

This article tells you how to dismiss (cancel) your family law case. FORMS ARE INCLUDED.

Can I dismiss my case?

You may dismiss or “nonsuit” a case you filed at any time before you have introduced all your evidence by filing a Notice of Nonsuit with the court. See Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 162.

What if I want to dismiss my case and the other party has filed a claim against me?

If the other party filed a claim against you in the same case (in a counterpetition, counterclaim, or asked the court for sanctions, attorney’s fees or other costs, for example), your Notice of Nonsuit will not dismiss the other party’s claims. If the other party filed a claim against you, the entire case can only be dismissed if you both agree.

If you both agree to dismiss the case, you should file an Agreed Motion to Dismiss Without Prejudice instead of a Notice of Nonsuit.

If I voluntarily dismiss my case, will I get the filing fee back?

No. If you dismiss/nonsuit your case, you will not get the filing fee back.

If I voluntarily dismiss my case, can I file it again at a later time?

Maybe. If you voluntarily dismiss a family law case, such as a divorce or custody case, you will usually be able to file your case again at a later time - as long as your case is dismissed “without prejudice.”

If you voluntarily dismiss a civil case (that is not a family law case), legal deadlines and other laws may stop you from filing your case again - even if your case is dismissed “without prejudice.”

If you have questions, it’s important to talk with a lawyer before dismissing your case.

What do “without prejudice” and “with prejudice” mean?

If your case is dismissed “without prejudice,” you can file it again (as long as there are no legal deadlines or other laws that stop you). If your case is dismissed “with prejudice,” you cannot file it again.

If you have questions, it’s important to talk with a lawyer before dismissing your case.

What are the steps to dismiss/nonsuit my case when I am the only party who has filed a claim?

If the other party has not filed a claim against you (meaning the other party has not filed a counterpetition, counterclaim, or asked for attorney’s fees or for anything else from you in the case), fill out the following two forms.

Note: On both forms fill out the box at the top (called the caption) so that it looks exactly like the Petition filed in your case. Be sure to include the cause number and court number.

This form tells the judge you want to nonsuit your case. Fill it out completely and sign it.

If the other party filed an answer or was served, fill out and sign the Certificate of Service section at the bottom to show that you sent a copy of the Notice of Nonsuit to the other party. 

You will ask the judge to sign this form to order your case dismissed. Fill it out completely except for the judge’s signature.

Take the completed Notice of Nonsuit form and at least 2 copies to the clerk’s office where you filed your case. The clerk will keep the original, stamp your copies, and give the copies back to you.

Ask the clerk when you can give your proposed Order to the judge. You may be able to see the judge that day. Or, you may have to come back another day. Read the article TIPS for the Courtroom for information about going to court.

After the judge has signed your Order, turn in the signed Order at the clerk’s office. Get a file-stamped copy of the Order for your records.

Warning: There are exceptions to these general guidelines. If you have questions, it’s important to talk with a lawyer.

What are the steps to dismiss my case by agreement?

If you and the other party agree to dismiss the case, fill out the following two forms.

Note: On both forms fill out the box at the top (called the caption) so that it looks exactly like the Petition filed in your case. Be sure to include the cause number and court number.

This form tells the judge that you and the other party agree to dismiss your case. Fill it out completely.

Both you and the other party must sign this form.

You will ask the judge to sign this form to order your case dismissed. Fill it out completely except for the judge’s signature.

Both you and the other party must also sign this form.

Turn in your completed Agreed Motion to Dismiss form and a copy at the clerk’s office where you filed your case. The clerk will keep the original, stamp your copy and give it back to you.

In some counties, the clerk will give your Agreed Order to the judge. In other counties, you must take your Agreed Order to the judge. The clerk can tell you the way it’s done in your county. Be sure to get a copy of the Agreed Order after it has been signed by the judge.