Very few people, outside of those that work in the industry, enjoy receiving documents from court, especially if the document is a summons to court. Not only can this create a situation where you worry about what the document may pertain to, but when you know that you are directly involved in the case a summons can be quite unnerving.
If you have been summoned to court for a child support case and have yet to contact an attorney, you should do so right away. A family law attorney specializing in child support cases will help to protect your rights and make sure that you are not taken advantage of. Do not attempt to do this on your own.
Why Are Child Support Summons Delivered?
Frequently, a situation arises where one party is looking to modify the child support agreement and serves a petition before the court to make such a modification. In this case, a summons is sent to the person who the petition is being served against in order for them to respond.
If you are receiving child support, the other parent may be looking to reduce or modify those payments in some other way. But if you are the person who is paying child support, the other parent may be looking to modify the child support, most likely to increase the amount that is paid each month.
How to Respond to a Child Support Summons
When you first open up the summons or it is delivered to you by a deputy from the Sheriff’s office, it can be a little bit unnerving. If you have never been served with a summons like this before, receiving such a document can be troubling on many different levels.
Because of this, your first step is to take a deep breath and not yourself overreact. It is actually not uncommon for people to receive a summons, so there is no reason for you to let yourself become overwhelmed by the experience. Once you have taken a deep breath, the next step is to look over the document thoroughly. See exactly what is being requested of you, what the proceeding will be about and when you are expected to appear as part of the summons.
Respond as Quickly as Possible
Understand that one of the most important aspects of the summons itself is that it will usually give you a specific timeframe for which you must respond to the information listed within the document. In Arizona, this is usually around 20 days, but can be slightly less or even more.
What this tells you is that you need to respond within that amount of time. As an important note to you, do not wait until the last moment to decide to respond. It is really to your advantage to make sure you get this document returned to the court as soon as possible. The last thing you want is some delay in the mail or some other issue to lead to a summary judgment of some kind against you. This is why it pays to act as soon as possible, usually within no more than 10 days of you receiving the summons.
Failure to respond is seen as the court as an admission of guilt or a tacit agreement on your part to the issues involved in the summons. No response is seen as your affirmation and is why you need to respond according to the requirements of the summons itself.
Seek Out Legal Assistance
You may find that the information provided within the summons is a little bit above your level of understanding. There is no shame in not knowing exactly how to respond to this document and it is far too important for you to simply ignore or try to figure out how to work through it on your own.
This document could contain information that is quite important to you, which could cost you money, time, and even freedom. This is why making sure that you seek the right kind of help to assist you could be vital.
How JacksonWhite Can Help
At JacksonWhite we know exactly how to assist our clients to be able to resolve issues like this, respond to the substance of the summons and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. We can set up a consultation where you can sit with an attorney and discuss your concerns and worries, allowing us to be able to advise you and show you how we can best assist you.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.