When a family law related dispute advances to the point that legal action is necessary, one party will eventually receive a summons to appear in court. These documents are served by the sheriff, a private process server, or the opposing party themselves. Once the reality of the situation and the fact that you must now appear in court truly sink in, it is only natural that you react in some way. However, it is important that you do not react in a way that could damage your case before either party even sets foot in front of a judge. There are two things in particular that you should never do after receiving a family court summons, especially if your situation is already complicated.
A common response to being attacked (or feeling attacked) is to fight back. Unfortunately, when the legal system is involved, fighting back outside of the courtroom could lead to serious trouble. Giving in to the urge to lash out is dangerous and could place you and your legal representative in a difficult situation. Though a certain amount of arguing or bickering is expected, it is surprisingly easy for a stressed out and hurt individual to go overboard after finding out that his or her ex-partner is taking them to court.
The best way to protect yourself after you have received a summons to appear in family court is to limit your interaction with the other party. Refrain from emailing them, contacting them via social media, calling them, or interacting with them about anything other than household or child-related issues. This can be difficult if you live in a house together, but it is possible. If you do not live together and you feel like you cannot communicate with them without the conversation degenerating into an argument, ask your attorney to communicate on your behalf.
Ignore the Situation
Depression, stress, or overwhelming panic can all combine to make a person who is already overburdened shut down. When this happens, it is not unusual for an adult to react to a court summons by deciding to ignore the entire situation. A person in this state of mind refuses to consult an attorney or attending the hearing, ultimately making the entire situation worse. Eventually someone or something is going to force you to deal with what has happened. Once you miss a hearing, you and any attorney you hire is forced to fight an uphill battle. It is now your job to fight any orders issued while you were absent and prove that things said when you were not there to defend yourself are not true.
Do Not Go Through This Alone
Getting assistance immediately is the best way to protect yourself from the consequences of major family court mistakes. Discussing your situation with a qualified family law attorney gives you an opportunity to get feedback from someone who understands the legal system and lets you share some of the burden with a team of professionals. The lawyers at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how overwhelming court hearings are and we are prepared to fight at your side to protect your rights both in and out of court. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our Atlanta area offices so that we can begin working on your behalf immediately.