Not Ready for Divorce Decree, But You’re Entitled to Service

Poor Kevin Allison. Unwilling either to pay someone like me $100 for an uncontested divorce or to do his own homework to find out what is needed, he filed pro se but didn’t file all the required documents, so he got a three-sentence order from a clearly exasperated court: “FINAL ORDER OF DIVORCE filed by ALLISON KEVIN DWAYNE is hereby DENIED. The pleadings are inadequate and incomplete. The parties are highly encouraged to seek legal advice.” Taking this as a dismissal of his case (and apparently waving off the course of action the judge “highly encouraged,” namely that he talk to a real lawyer), he appealed the order.

The appeals court predictably dismissed his appeal. That was his first trip to the appeals court, which you’ll find at Allison v Helms, Case No. 2160017 (Ala. Civ. App. February 10, 2017).

Now Kevin is back, having returned to the trial court, and having attempted to compel service of process on his wife. This time the case is Ex parte Allison, Case No. 2160512 (Ala. Civ. App. May 12, 2017). The trial court denied his motion, and he petitioned for a writ of mandamus ordering the trial court to proceed with service.

This time Kevin was a winner. The appeals court said it could find no basis for the trial court’s refusal to initiate service. “The husband has demonstrated a clear legal right to have his divorce complaint served on the wife. We therefore grant the husband’s petition, and we order the trial court to instruct the clerk to serve the divorce complaint on the wife.”

So now we all troop back to the trial court in Marshall County. Maybe this time these two poor folks will actually get a divorce decree.

Because this post talks about my legal practice, I need to say this: no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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