Heald v. Heald, [Ms. 2200527, Nov. 5, 2021] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2021). The Court (per curiam) reverses the Etowah Circuit Court’s order denying the wife’s Rule 60(b)(4) motion to vacate a judgment of divorce. The wife argues that the judgment is void due to failure of service of process. A process server left the summons and complaint with the husband at a residence shared by the parties. Ms. *3. In reversing, the court holds
The rules of civil procedure are to ‘be construed and administered to secure the just ... determination of every action,’ Rule 1(c), Ala. R. Civ. P., and the issue whether the husband is a ‘person of suitable ... discretion’ under Rule 4(c)(1) for purposes of receipt of service of process for the wife in the divorce action is a question of law. Interpreting the rules for service of process so as to allow the husband, who was the opposing party to the wife in the divorce proceedings, to accept service of process for her would in no way secure the just determination of the divorce action. As the opposing party in the divorce action, he simply is not a ‘person of suitable ... discretion’ who is permitted to accept service of process for the wife. To read Rule 4(c)(1) as authorizing such a practice would be absurd.