You are a defendant in a divorce case if you have been served with a copy of the court forms called a Summons, Complaint, and Notice of Automatic Court Orders. A state marshal may hand them to you or leave them at your home. It is important that you read all of the documents. Read the notice in the middle of the Summons and the Notice of Automatic Court Orders attached to the Complaint very carefully. The Automatic Court Orders apply to you when the Summons and Complaint are served on you. The Automatic Court Orders also give you a Case Management Date. You and your spouse must fill out a Case Management Agreement and file it with the clerk before that date or you must go to court on the Case Management Date. If you disagree about custody or visitation (also called parenting time or access) of your children, you and your spouse must go to court on the Case Management Date even if you filed a Case Management Agreement.
After you get a copy of the court papers, you may contact an attorney to represent you or follow the steps below to represent yourself. Even if you agree with what your spouse says in the complaint, follow the steps below to take part in your case. If you take no action, the judge may order what your spouse requests in the Complaint.
TIP: If you are the defendant, the Automatic Court Orders apply to you when you receive the Summons and Complaint, even if they are not handed to you personally by the state marshal.