What to expect when you initiate an action:

Service of Process:

Once you initiate an action against someone, whether it’s a family or civil case, you must notify the other party that they are being sued. The process of formally notifying someone that an action has been initiated against them is known as “service of process”. Those who are certified in providing the documents necessary to complete the service of process are called process servers.

Providing notice to a defendant or respondent through email or by mail is not sufficient to constitute service; even if that party receives it. There are circumstances where a formal service may not be necessary, such as when the party to be served waives this requirement. If a party decides to waive the service of process, be sure to get it in writing with the party’s signature and file the waiver with the Court.

The Summons:

A process server will serve the defendant/respondent with a copy of the action and a summons. A summons explains in writing to the addressee that they have been named as a defendant/respondent in a lawsuit and gives specific instructions, including the timeframe to submit a response and where to submit it.

Make sure the information on the summons is accurate:

It’s important to make sure that the summons is completely accurate. If a party’s name is misspelled or contains the wrong first name or last name, then the summons is inadequate and the action may be subject to dismissal.

What is the deadline for the other party to submit a response to the action?

A response is required to be filed within twenty (20) days after the party is served. Failure to respond to the summons will be considered as a default by the defendant/respondent. The judge can then enter a default judgment against the defendant/respondent, granting everything that was requested by the plaintiff/petitioner.


If you have questions about filing an action, it’s best to ask a qualified family law attorney. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your position, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.

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Legal Lotus, P.A. is a Miami-based law firm specializing in family law, civil litigation, and the drafting of contracts, partnerships, and wills.

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