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What are the reasons for an order of default for divorce being denied?

Baltimore, MD |

I filed for divorce and had my husband served by the sheriff. I waited 30 days and he didn't file an answer (he lives in the state of MD). I then completed an order of default and found out that it was denied.

What are the reasons for it being denied? Is it something that I did wrong?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Possibly. Did you complete and attach the required, notarized affidavit of non-military service? If not, that is probably the reason. If your case is in Baltimore County, the court requires that you attach a copy of the summons. If neither of those scenarios fit, you might try calling the chambers of the judge who denied the request to determine what the issue is.

  2. The Order denying your request for a default should explain why it was denied. The 2 most common reasons for denying a request for an order of default are (1) not attaching a non-military affidavit, and (2) not listing the last known address of your husband.

  3. You need to refer to Md. Rule 2-613, the Maryland Rules can be accessed online free of charge. The procedure for obtaining a default judgment requires that the defendant be properly served with the Complaint along with a writ of summons and that the time for pleading has elapsed. Bear in mind that the writ of summons is only active for sixty days from the date of issue. If the summons was expired at the time the defendant was served, a new summons must be requested from the clerk and the defendant must be served again. Also, ensure that the address listed on the summons is the same as the address where the defendant was served if he was served by certified mail.

    The next most likely problem is that either no affidavit of service was filed or the affidavit is defective. For instance, if service was by certified mail, was it restricted delivery. This error led to the denial of many requests for an order of default when I was a judicial clerk. Also is a copy of the summons attached to the affidavit of service? This is required by rule.

    Next, ensure that a non-military affidavit was submitted along with the request for order of default. Finally, did you request an order of default or did you simply request a default judgment? An order of default must be requested first. After the issuance of the order of default the defendant will have 30 days to move to vacate the order of default. If he or she has not done so at the conclusion of the thirty day period, you may then request that a hearing be held to take testimony supporting your entitlement to the entry of a default judgment of absolute divorce. Remember, in Maryland a divorce requires the testimony of a subscribing witness, so an ex parte hearing will still have to be held to take testimony supporting the grounds for divorce.