Last year in Flynn v. May, 157 Md. App. 389 (2004), the Maryland Court of Special Appeals set aside a default judgment awarding a father custody and child support. The mother, representing herself, filed an Answer but it was rejected because it did not contain a certificate of service.
In setting aside the default the court said, “because the best interest of the child is of ‘paramount importance’ in a child custody and support case, the child has an ‘indefeasible right’ to have the custody determination made only after a full evidentiary hearing involving both parents.”
Now, the court has expanded Flynn to by setting aside a default on divorce, custody, visitation, child support, use and possession, alimony, property division and other issues as well.
In Wells v. Wells (April 13, 2006), Michael Wells filed for divorce and custody of the minor son. The complaint was based on adultery.
However, the parties were still living together and Anita was surprised when the sheriff showed up to evict her from the house.
When she said she had received no notice of a divorce, Michael showed her the unopened letters from the court on the dining room table.
The court said this case cried out for a full evidentiary hearing, with both parties participating, focusing on the child and what would be best for him.