To have your pleadings stricken means that your complaint, petition, or lawsuit will be dismissed. This is a common order entered in family court to obtain compliance by one or both parties to move the case forward. If you are the responding party it means your counter-complaint, petition or lawsuit will be dismissed and the opposing party will be able to proceed without you. If the opposing party proceeds without you then you no longer have the right to request relief from the court. Obviously, dismissal or not being able to ask for what you want is a severe sanction, but it is often imposed when the court is upset because you haven’t done something you were supposed to do.
Family courts routinely impose this remedy to get one or both parties to do something which usually means file income and asset disclosure forms, file a proposed parenting plan, file a child support calculation, attend mediation, attend a settlement conference, or attend a parenting class.
Judges are under time standards set by the Supreme Court to conclude cases in a set period after they have been filed. Every court then institutes local rules to help them meet the time standards set by the Supreme Court. Oftentimes, orders threatening to strike your pleadings relate to those time standards and local rules to try to keep cases moving through the court system.
As a client, it is important to know that how fast your case moves once it has been filed is not entirely up to you. If you don’t want your case to move quickly then waiting to file until you have an agreement both saves you money and allows you to be in control. Also, in general, it is easier to slow down the speed at which a case moves through the court system. It is harder to expedite hearing the case. Whether or not you can expedite the hearing of a case also largely depends on the judge you are in front of and how big their docket is.
If your pleadings have already been stricken you can often get them reinstated by doing what you were ordered to do but didn’t do. However, the longer you wait the less likely the court is to allow your pleadings to be reinstated. Also, if the court has already dismissed your case then having your case reinstated is not an option. You will have to refile your case, pay another filing fee, and start back at go.