When a person is served with a Summons and Complaint, it means their spouse has filed for divorce. The Summons and Complaint is the initial paperwork that must be filed with the court in order to initiate the divorce proceedings in the state of Michigan. When a spouse receives a formal notice that states his/her spouse wants a divorce, he/she may be uncertain of how to respond.


Responding to a Summons


Once a person has been served with a Summons and Complaint in Ingham County, MI, they must respond within a specific period of time. The summons specifically states that the defendant, or person who has been served, has 21 days after receiving it to respond by “filing a written answer with the court and serve a copy on the other party or take lawful action with the court” if they were served in person. If the summons was not served in person but instead was received by mail or the individual was served outside of the state, he/she then has 28 days to respond.

If the defendant fails to respond to the summons he/she received in a timely manner, they run the risk of having a judgment entered against them for “the relief demanded in the complaint.” Essentially, what this means is that a judge could grant the divorce and make decisions regarding other issues that are typically addressed in a divorce.


Steps to Take After Being Served a Summons and Complaint in Ingham County, MI


After an individual receives a Summons and Complaint, they should consider retaining an Ingham County, MI divorce lawyer who can assist them going forward. The divorce process can be tricky to navigate through, especially when a person doesn’t have anyone guiding them through it. Here’s what an individual who has been served divorce papers in Ingham County can expect when they retain a divorce attorney:

  • They receive help with filing a response to the Summons and Complaint.
  • Their lawyer will discuss certain issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, division of assets, etc. to determine how the defendant plans on addressing these issues.
  • Assist the defendant with gathering the necessary documentation that supports their stance on a certain issue. For example, if the defendant believes he/she should be awarded alimony, a divorce lawyer can help gather the evidence needed to prove the defendant is entitled to receive it.
  • Serve as a liaison between the defendant and their spouse (i.e. the plaintiff) or their spouse’s attorney if he/she hired one. This is especially helpful when the divorce is contested, or when the relationship ended on bad terms.


The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. Can Help an Ingham County Resident Respond to Their Divorce Papers


After a person has been served divorce papers, they can contact the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. to receive help with responding to the summons.


The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. can be reached at:


1223 Turner Street, #333

Lansing, MI 48906

Phone: 517-487-6603

Website: www.stushafer.com

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