Friday, 08 April 2016 16:52

Divorce by Default

What happens if you file for divorce and properly serve the divorce papers on your spouse, but your spouse does not file a response with the Court within the required time allowed?  

You are not stuck, you can still proceed to get divorced in the State of Maryland.  You must file with the court a Request for An Order of Default, file an affidavit and proof stating that your spouse is not currenting serving in the armed forces.   The proof can be obtained by visting the Department of Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) website, and print out your search results.  Once the court issues the default you can then request a hearing for divorce and the process can proceed without your spouse.  What happens if your spouse suddenly decides to respond and participate?  The default is likely to be set aside and the case will proceed with both parties participating. The issues, especially custody and visitation, are so important that Judges don't like to proceed in divorce cases without hearing evidence from both spouses.  

There are many reasons why people do not initialy respond to the divorce papers.  Sometimes it is denial of the divorce, sometimes it is financial inability to hire a lawyer or figure out how to file without a lawyer, sometimes it is because a spouse is hoping that the matters can be resolved outside of court, with or without the use of an attorney or mediator.

People Magazine reports that although Gwenyth Paltrow filed for divorce on April 20, 2015 her husband, Chris Martin, did not file a response with the Court.  Ms. Paltrow now has the option to request that the court proceed on a default judgment.  In all likelihood this is a situation where Mr. Martin and/or Ms. Paltrow want to resolve their issues outside of court with their lawyers, mediators and business managers. 



Published in Divorce

Ms. Hess has again been selected to the Maryland Super Lawyers list that can be found in the Maryland 2016 edition of Super Lawyers Magazine.  Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Ms. Hess has received the honor of appearing on the Super Lawyers list since 2009.

Published in News

The membership of the Collaborative Divorce Association, Inc. elected Geraldine Hess to serve as one of the Board of Directors of the organization.  Ms. Hess's practice consists of both traditional litigation/representation and collaborative law. 

The Collaborative process is not right for every case or family situation and that is why Ms. Hess offers the Colloborative process as one of many ways of resolving family, custody and divorce matters.

Review the Collaborative Divorce Association, Inc. checklist, and consult with a Collaborative attorney to determine whether the Collaborative process is right for you.   


Published in News
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 22:19

Best Lawyers

Geraldine Hess named in the Washington DC & Baltimore’s Best Lawyers 2013 Edition.

            Ms. Hess has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the Washington DC & Baltimore’s Best Lawyers 2013 Edition.   Best Lawyers is one of the leading referral guides in the legal profession.   The 2013 Best Lawyers List appeared in the Best Lawyers special advertising supplement to the Washington Post on Friday, November 9th, 2012 .  Ms. Hess, owner of Hess Family Law, appears on page 24 of that publication.  

Published in News


     Governor Martin O’Malley recently made history when he appointed the first female chief justice to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Mary Ellen Barbera is not only the first female chief justice, but she is also the first chief justice from Montgomery County.

     The Governor also appointed the first black woman, Judge Shirley Watts, to the Court of Appeals. If the Maryland Senate confirms these appointments, Maryland will be one of only eight states to have a female majority on the high court.

     Ms. Geraldine Welikson Hess and Hess Family Law has a case pending in the Maryland Court of Appeals. The case is scheduled for oral argument during January 2014. All seven judges of the Court of Appeals hear oral arguments unless a Judge recuses him/herself from a case. Ms. Hess is likely to appear before Chief Judge Barbera and Judge Watts in January 2014.

     Read more about the appointments here and here.


Published in News

Geraldine Hess named in the Washington DC & Baltimore’s Best Lawyers 2014 Edition.

            Ms. Hess has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the 2014 Best Lawyers in America Publication.   Best Lawyers is one of the leading referral guides in the legal profession.   Ms. Hess will be listed in the Washington D.C. and the Baltimore's Best Lawyers special advertising supplement in the The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, and all local editions of The Wall Street Journal on Friday, September 27, 2013.  

Published in News
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 13:03

Inspire. Prepare. Succeed.

Hess Family Law is proud to be one of the sponsors of the 2013 Preparing For Success Fall Forum.  

 The “Preparing for Success” Fall Forum is an all-day conference, designed to provide useful and practical information for high school girls headed for college and the workplace. The Montgomery County Women’s Bar Foundation designed, planned and has offered this program every November, beginning in 2001. The program offers workshops that address interviewing, resume writing, career choices, getting into college, and a section on helping young girls stay safe while in high school and also on the internet. The entire day is free of charge. Co-sponsors include the Montgomery County Commission for Women, the J. Franklyn Bourne Association, the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association, Montgomery College and Montgomery County Public Schools.

You can register here for this free program.

Published in News

Mailing Address

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
451 Hungerford Dr,
Suite 119-307
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
344 Maple Ave West,
Suite 355
Vienna, Virginia 22180

Meeting Locations

Rockville, Maryland:
1 Research Court,
Suite 450
Rockville, Maryland 20850
(240) 389-4377
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Fairfax, Virginia:
11325 Random Hills Rd,
Suite 360
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
(240) 389-4377
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Honored among the best divorce and family lawyers in Montgomery County and Maryland by:  Best Lawyers  and

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