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By Michael Tupper
Attorney at Law

If you find yourself in the middle of a messy divorce, one of the things you may be fighting over is custody of your children. Sadly, child custody disputes are often some of the most bitter fights imaginable.

It doesn’t help matters that the legal system is extremely complicated. When you are facing an extremely emotional dispute, it is easy to get lost in the intricacies of the legal system. You might, for example, ignore a subpoena in your child support case. If that happens, what are the consequences?

The Legal Process Is Unforgiving

The most important thing to remember about divorce proceedings is that they are a legal process. This means that you and your future ex-spouse are bound by law to obey the directives of the court. Ignoring a summons is a violation of that duty.

That is not good for you. Very likely, if you ignore a summons, the lawyer for your spouse will request judgment by default. That means they are requesting the judge to rule in their favor because you ignored the instructions of the court. Unless you have a very good excuse, that may very well happen.

What You Should Do if You Ignore a Summons

Hopefully, you didn’t ignore it intentionally. The worst situation you can be in is one where you intentionally ignored a summons or other order of the Court, likely to spite your spouse.

That will just anger the judge and almost ensure you are sanctioned somehow. In the best-case scenario, you may be fined or lectured. However, it is more likely to cause the judge to partially or fully rule against you.

However, if it was an accident, the advice and counsel of an experienced family law attorney will be invaluable in protecting you from the potential consequences of your mistake or excusable neglect of the court requirements. 

Why Does it Matter?

A summons is a court directive that requires you to file a written response to a lawsuit. However, a judge may also issue a subpoena or other court orders for their edification or to carry out the requirements of the law.

Regardless, if the court feels that this information is critical to the case, you should not ignore it. When you ignore it, you prevent the court or your future ex-spouse from getting information that they have a right to. This makes the process unfair.

How to Avoid Accidentally Ignoring a Summons, Subpoena or Other Order of the Court

There are several ways you can accidentally ignore a subpoena or summons. For example, if you aren’t checking your mail, you might not even realize you got one. Alternatively, even if you are aware of it and intend to respond, you might miss the deadline. Finally, if you don’t provide the right type of information or all the information you were supposed to provide, you have effectively ignored it.

The best way to avoid any of these types of mistakes is to retain an experienced Jacksonville, FL, family law attorney, like the ones at Tupper Law, P.A. An experienced family law lawyer will keep track of all subpoenas, ensure that they are responded to properly, and will contest any subpoenas requesting information you should not have to provide.

About the Author
Michael Tupper is an experienced and skilled attorney from Jacksonville, FL, and is the driving force behind Tupper Law P.A. With an illustrious career spanning several years, he has established himself as a reliable and skilled legal advisor and representative across various disciplines. Having obtained his license to practice law in the State of Florida in 2004, Michael has consistently catered to the legal needs of Northeast Florida, encompassing Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties. His unwavering commitment to delivering timely, personalized, and proficient services reflects his dedication to providing the highest level of professional assistance.