What You Should Know About | Maryland Alternative Service Options

Thank you for joining me my name is LaSheena Williams and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today we will be discussing service and alternative service options.

What is Service of Process?

In Maryland, service is defined as the act of notifying the opposing party that they are the defendant in a civil or domestic suit. To properly effectuate service, someone over the age of 18 that is not a party to the matter must serve your defendant. What that means is you don’t want to have your children serve the defendant and you can’t serve the defendant. You can however have a sheriff, or a process server, or a friend, or family member serve the opposing party. But it’s very important to keep in mind that if you don’t meet the requirements, as in someone over the age of 18 that’s not a party member, the service may be ineffective, and you may be stalled out at the very early stage of your litigation.

 When Would You Need Maryland Alternative Service of Process?

You would need a method for alternative service if you’re finding it very difficult to have the opposing party served. You may not know the opposing party’s address, or they may not actually have a known address and bounce from residence to residence. In those cases, you may need to consider different methods of alternative service.

Requesting Maryland Alternative Service

In order to actually use an alternative service method, you must make that request with the court. You or your attorney can file a motion requesting alternative service and detailing what type of alternative service you are seeking.

Alternative Service By Posting

There are several different methods for alternative service. One of the methods is service by posting. With service by posting, you would have a sheriff post your complaint, and your summons, and the other details regarding your matter at your local courthouse. They would post for a certain amount of time and that service will be considered effective, even if your partner hasn’t actually come to the courthouse to see the posting.

Alternative Service By Publication

Also, one of the older forms of actual alternative service is service by publication. Service by publication means that you must post a notification with the pertinent facts in a local newspaper in the jurisdiction that you believe your defendant is located. You have to pay for that advertisement to run a certain number of times in order for the court to consider service effective using this method.

Alternative Service By Email

Lately due to Covid-19, there are a number of other methods the court may grant for alternative service. There have been options where the court may order that email notification is sufficient, they may order that Facebook is sufficient, they may even order that twitter is sufficient and appropriate notification if it’s confirmed that the opposing party actually is the only person that uses that address or that social media site. And the court may consider that as an option. It’s rare, it’s in the early stages at this point, but it’s becoming more and more common.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

If you have any questions about alternative service methods such as by publication, by posting, or any other means, or any other domestic related issues, please feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel for future updates. Please also feel free to give us a call today at (301) 778-9950.