Legal Question in Family Law in California

what is summons?

Asked on 3/14/23, 5:57 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

It is a legal paper that is issued by the court whenever a new law case is filed in non-criminal cases. It is notice from the court that a legal proceeding has been filed by one party and the other party must respond to the court. The person starting a legal case, which in Family Law is usually a divorce or a paternity and custody case, must file the papers to start the case with the court, along with a summons. The court clerk issues the summons. Then the party starting the proceeding must have someone over 18 and not involved in the proceeding deliver the summons and papers to the other parent or party. That is notice to the other parent or party that the legal action has been started and they need to respond.

In Family Law the summons also gives notice of automatic restraining orders that go into effect as soon as the summons is delivered to the responding party; they are effective on the filing party as soon as the summons is issued. The restraining orders are such things as "you can't take children out of the state until the court allows it" and "you can't buy or sell valuables that may be in dispute." They are set out in detail on the summons itself.

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Answered on 3/14/23, 8:42 pm

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