You Got Served
You were just served papers, you’re angry, confused, and not sure what to do next. Whether these are divorce papers, a civil lawsuit, or a temporary restraining order, many people have questions about what this means and what to do next. Different lawsuits have different meanings, but this article provides some helpful insight on what you should do next if you ever find a process server on your doorstep.
Do not ‘Duck’ the Person Serving you the Lawsuit Papers
Many people believe it is a good idea to try and duck the process server (the guy trying to serve you with papers . . . (possibly dressed up as a Domino’s delivery guy). Truth is, by ducking service you may accidentally push yourself into a corner that may make it harder to defend yourself in the long run. It is myth that if you avoid the server long enough, the lawsuit will just go away. Texas law provides many tools for parties trying to serve their adversary that allow the suing party to proceed with the lawsuit because of the fact that you keep ducking the process server.
If the party is successful in “serving you without serving you,” you risk not knowing any of the developments of the case and getting a judgment against you without having the opportunity to tell your side of the story. Once this happens, it is extremely difficult to fight the judgment and it is most likely going to remain final. If you cooperate with the process server and accept the papers, you are actually in a much better position to defend your rights.
Call a Lawyer Immediately
Once you are served, certain time clocks begin ticking and you only have a set amount of time to take certain actions to defend yourself. The earlier an experienced trial lawyer can review your papers, the more tools he or she has to work with because some of our tactics must be employed almost immediately after our client is served with the papers.
Many people put the issue out of their mind because it is a stressful topic to think about. This is even more dangerous than ducking service because by delaying you are handing the other side their victory and judgment on a silver platter and allowing them to pass Go and collect $200 without having to prove their case with any evidence. Give yourself the best possible shot at winning – call an experienced trial lawyer immediately and set up a consultation.
Different Lawsuits = Different Issues
Every case filed that is not a criminal matter is considered a “civil lawsuit.” Whether that be a suit for breaking a contract, a car wreck, or a divorce, the term lawsuit is all inclusive. Some lawsuits require specific attention to detail that can be overlooked by a novelist in the area, so it is important to consult with an experienced trial lawyer immediately when served.
If your spouse files for divorce, you will get served with papers just like any other lawsuit and you should abide by the rules listed, above. In addition to this, you need to find a family lawyer quickly because there are urgent matters that come up in a divorce proceeding that may require immediate attention and preparation by your lawyer. The longer you wait, the less time you give your legal team to prepare to defend against claims made by your spouse and the greater risk that your spouse may push you into a difficult position.
For more detailed information the divorce process, please contact us to set up a consultation, give us a call at 214-494-9916 for more information.
Temporary Restraining Orders
In divorce proceedings and lawsuits not involving divorces, temporary restraining orders are common events. A temporary restraining order, or TRO, is an order that has already been signed by the court that restricts you from doing the activities described in the TRO. After being served with the TRO, if you engage in any of the activities you are ordered to refrain from in the TRO, you are violating a court order which could subject you to punishment by contempt or sanctions from the Court. Moreover, the TRO likely contains a time and date for a hearing within the two weeks from the date you received the TRO. This hearing is similar to a mini-trial on the issues discussed in the TRO and takes significant planning and work by your lawyers. It is vital that you talk with an experienced trial lawyer within hours after receiving a TRO because your team needs all the time possible to prepare a defense and possible offense against these charges.
Lawsuits for Unpaid Invoices
If you are served with papers that allege you failed to pay invoices billed to you for services or items you purchased, this requires a special response. If this response is not drafted and filed correctly, you risk the court treating the case as if you never fought back at all, and your opponent could walk away with a judgment against you and never look back.
Getting served with a lawsuit is not one of the most exciting nor enjoyable moments in life. But if you find yourself in this situation, you need to contact an experienced trial lawyer as soon as you possibly can so that you give yourself the best possible chance to mount a defense, file a countersuit, and protect your rights.
Give us a call at 214-494-9916 for more information.