You could have been at work, minding your own business. Or maybe you were at home in your pajamas. Either way, it's not fun to be served with a lawsuit. But what are you supposed to do now?
The first thing I will tell you is what NOT to do. Do not wait. Do not stick it in with the rest of your mail and forget about it. Do not wait to go talk to a lawyer.
The second thing is to READ the summons. There is some important information in there. A typical summons will tell you that you have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit or you will risk default. If you default, a judgment can be entered without you. And it is near impossible to undo.
The summons will also include what court the lawsuit is in, who the lawyer on the other side is, and where the clerk's office is to file a response.
Occasionally, a summons will provide for a shorter time period. For example, if you are served with an unlawful detainer lawsuit, you will only have five days to respond, or you will be evicted.
In addition to the summons and the complaint or petition, there may also be a notice for a temporary hearing. In almost all cases, it is imperative that you attend the hearing. Even if your 30 days to respond has not run yet. If the hearing is in the morning, go to the hearing and tell the judge you want a continuance to find a lawyer.
The third thing is to take the summons to an attorney as soon as possible and learn about your options. Schedule an appointment as soon as you can. Do not want until your answer is due.
If you have been served with a lawsuit, get proactive. Because it's not going away. Read it carefully and then schedule an appointment with an attorney like Leslie who can help you.