DWOP meaning or in full stands for dismissal for want of prosecution and is a remedy for courts dealing with cases with little or no activity. A court gives a DWOP charge or order to dismiss a case since the party seeking relief hasn’t taken the required action of which they were notified. These orders are common in family law cases, including divorce cases.

Dwop meaningThis article discusses the reasons for a DWOP order and what to do when the court sends you a notice of dismissal for want of prosecution.

What’s the Meaning of DWOP or Dismissal for Want of Prosecution?

DWOP or dismissal for want of prosecution means when a court dismisses your case for failure of a party seeking affirmative relief to attend a hearing or trial. It may also happen if you fail to take a specific action required by the court for which you had notice.

Once a judge signs a DWOP order, in simple legal terms, it means that they officially close your case, and the order disposes of all claims. However, a DWOP is without prejudice, meaning the case can be refiled.

For instance, Texas Family Code provides that a court can dismiss for want of prosecution if a party fails to request a setting or take appropriate action after receiving a notice from the Court Administrator indicating that their case has been pending for more than 180 days.

In the case of a family law case, such as a Texas divorce, such notice is given 30 days before the set date of dismissal. However, the court shall remove the case from its dismissal docket if an attorney from either side contacts the court in person.

Again, the court can dismiss for want of prosecution if the party or their attorney fails to appear for trial, pre-trial, or another preliminary hearing.

– Reason for a DWOP

The reason for a DWOP is to keep the docket moving. In some states, family law cases such as divorce can take years to resolve. Cases that move too slowly often slow down the court system, preventing other cases from being heard in time.

Since courts don’t like dealing with a backlog of cases, they may decide to dismiss some cases to move on to other cases. They may send a notice for dismissal for want of prosecution, meaning that involved parties must work out a resolution or have their case dismissed.

A Texas State Statute provides that a DWOP may apply if either party in a case fails to appear for any of their hearings or trials of which they had notice. Another possibility of a DWOP Texas residents should be aware of is when a party fails to comply with time standards. A court may place a case on a dismissal docket if it isn’t disposed of within the time standards enacted by the Supreme Court under its administrative rules.

– Why a Court Would Send a DWOP Notice

DWOP notices are common in divorce, child support, custody, and other family law cases. A judge can give a dismissed for want of prosecution notice for several reasons. Below are some common reasons why a court could issue a DWOP notice:

  • One party failed to serve their spouse with divorce papers or file a waiver of service.
  • The respondent failed to file a response, and you never filed a default judgment against them.
  • One or both parties or their lawyers failed to attend a court hearing or setting.
  • One or both parties missed deadlines for matters such as discovery.
  • One or both parties seem to be deliberately delaying court proceedings.
  • Neither party seems ready to engage in mediation or another alternative dispute resolution method, with the case not being set for trial.
  • Both parties’ legal counsel hasn’t been cooperating or communicating.
  • There hasn’t been activity on the case for a prolonged period of time.

– After Receiving a Notice of DWOP

After receiving a DWOP notice, you should appear in court on the specified date and be ready to explain the status of your case and the reason for dragging it on for so long. During this period, you should consider working with a family law attorney.

After receiving a notice of dwop

If you receive a dismissal for want of prosecution civil case notice, you must take it seriously. The notice means that the court is considering dismissing your case if there are no developments.

– Reinstating a Case After Being Dismissed by the Court Through DWOP

A case can be reinstated after being dismissed by the court. If timely filed, the court will give you a hearing to state your reasons for why the court should grant you the motion. Upon satisfactorily justifying your case, the court will reinstate it.

If not, you’ll need to refile the case. So, what happens when a case is dismissed for want of prosecution? When a court issues a DWOP notice, parties have 30 days to file a Motion to Reinstate. This motion provides a way for you to undo the DWOP.

In such circumstances, cases are dismissed “without prejudice,” which means you can refile the case if the court dismisses it. However, that means starting the process over again. You must serve your spouse again, which can be costly if it’s a divorce.

– DWOP Hearing Proceedings

Deliberate delay of proceedings isn’t uncommon in family law cases, but there could be valid reasons for delays. During this hearing, the judge works to understand the reason for the delay. They also determine whether to dismiss the case or keep it open.

The hearing is typically short – about 20 minutes – but you must be prepared. The judge will expect you to give a valid reason for the delay. You’ll also need to explain your actions regarding the case since filing.

If your reason isn’t convincing or you’ve done little to resolve the case, the judge will likely be inclined to dismiss your case. Retaining an experienced family law attorney is an excellent way to prepare if you’ve received a DWOP notice or are concerned about your case being dismissed.

For instance, if your custody case is likely to be dismissed for want of prosecution, child custody attorneys can help you prepare for the hearing and ensure you’re taking the essential steps to keep your case moving.

– Avoiding a DWOP

You can avoid a DWOP by working with a family law attorney in your civil case. Your attorney will file the required paperwork promptly, stick to all the deadlines, and ensure that you take the necessary actions to keep your case progressing and avoid delays.


Understanding DWOP meaning can help you avoid case dismissal and enable you to take the necessary steps to resolve your case. This article has highlighted the meaning of DWOP and what to do after receiving a DWOP notice, and here are the main points of this discussion:

  • DWOP, or dismissal for want of prosecution, is a remedy used by courts to dismiss cases for which there’s little or no progress being made.
  • After receiving a DWOP notice, you must appear in court at a specified date and explain to a judge the reason for the delay in your case.
  • If you can convince a judge that you have a valid reason to delay your case, they can keep your case open. Otherwise, they’ll dismiss and close your case
  • If a court dismisses your case for want of prosecution, you can file a motion to reinstate within 30 days and ask the court to grant you a hearing to justify your reason for the delay in your case.

DWOP notices aren’t uncommon in civil cases that often drag on. Connecting with a family law attorney via social media or a law firm is an excellent way to avoid a DWOP or resolve your case when you receive a DWOP notice.

5/5 - (5 votes)
Divorce & Finance