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Upon our grant of her application for discretionary appeal, Alma Shirley Brown appeals the trial court"s denial of her motion to set aside the judgment rendered after a bench trial in the underlying divorce action.

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Brown was served with her husband"s complaint for divorce on November 21, 1991. On December 27, 1991, Brown"s letter "responding to the summons from , civil action no. 91-10503-6" was filed with the clerk of the DeKalb Superior Court. The index to the record on appeal refers to Brown"s writing as the "answer."
Plaintiff contends that as Brown"s letter was insufficient as an answer pursuant to OCGA 9-11-8 and created no issue, Whitby v. Maloy, 145 Ga. App. 785 (245 SE2d 5) (1978), she was not entitled to notice of the hearing pursuant to OCGA 9-11-5. Our Supreme Court has held that OCGA 9-11-5 applies to divorce actions, and where a party fails to file defensive pleadings in a divorce action, such party waives all notices, including notices of the time and place of trial. See Gibson v. Gibson, 234 Ga. 528 (216 SE2d 824) (1975); Wallace v. Wallace, 229 Ga. 607 (1) (193 SE2d 832) (1972). The waiver contemplated by OCGA 9-11-5, does not, however, include waiver of notice of a challenge to the sufficiency of defendant"s answer where one has been timely filed.
While plaintiff did make an oral motion for judgment on the pleadings, such motion was also required to be in writing, with notice thereof served on defendant. See OCGA 9-11-7. As this was not done, defendant was denied her opportunity to respond to plaintiff"s motion. Once an answer has been timely filed, it cannot be disposed of in an ex parte proceeding without notice thereof to the defendant. Whether or not Brown"s filing was sufficient as an answer is not the issue before us, and nothing herein should be construed as a comment thereon.

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The lack of notice to Brown of the oral motion challenging the sufficiency of Brown"s answer or of the scheduling of the final hearing date is of great importance in this divorce action, as an answer, or amendment thereto could have been filed, without payment of costs, at any time prior to judgment or defendant could have appeared and defended the action even if no answer had been filed. Newton v. Newton, 226 Ga. 440, 441 (175 SE2d 543) (1970); Hardwick v. Hardwick, 245 Ga. 570 (266 SE2d 184) (1980); OCGA 9-11-5 (a). The fact that the subject answer was not filed within 30 days of service of the complaint upon Brown in this divorce action is of no consequence as no judgment was taken prior to the time that the answer was filed. Hill v. Hill, 234 Ga. 836 (218 SE2d 619) (1975).