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If I receive a "Summons and Order to Appear" from the Court of Common Pleas through the mail (not hand delivered to me),do I go?

New Albany, OH |

My ex-wife and her fiancee had a domestic dispute back in October. My daughter was with me at the time, but since my ex has her 50% of the time, my daughter has been named in the case. I got a summons to appear in the mail for a court date 5 days from now. My ex has done everything her lawyer has told her to have the case dismissed as it was more of a misunderstanding than anything else. If I don't appear (I was called because I am the father of the child who was not even home at the time), can I be in trouble? My ex and her fiancee are both going to appear at court. Again, this just showed up in the mail today and I have never been hand delivered anything.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

It does not sound like this is a subpoena, as those are not generally sent through the mail. For you to be arrested for not appearing pursuant to a subpoena, you must be personally served. You should consult an attorney regarding exactly what was served to determine any potential consequences of not appearing.


Being served through the mail has the same legal affect as being served something in person by a process server. Mail delivery is much faster and cheaper than hand-delivery, and is thus used 99% of the time. Hand-delivery is usually used when a person has tried to evade service (by moving, not providing a forwarding address, etc.). The court is summoning you to appear. It would be wise to go.


First of all, any time you get a summons from a Court, you would be a fool to ignore it. It does not require that it be served by hand delivery for it to be valid and effective.

It is difficult to identify exactly what is going on when you do not have all the facts yourself. First I would say that you should contact an attorney so that they can look up the case and tell you exactly what is going on. Having said that, I am going to hazard a wild guess. I think that there is an action in Juvenile Court that is alleging that your daughter was endangered by the situation that occurred. Because you are a parent of the child, you are being served with notice of the case as an interested party. If I am correct, even though I expect that no change of custody would result from this hearing, simply because the Court has the authority to make all kinds of orders affecting custody, you should either be present or have a legal representative present to make certain that your daughter does not end up under the authority of Youth Services (because mom is deemed inappropriate and nobody else stepped up to assure the court she would be safe.

Again, contact an attorney, it will be worth the investment.

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: Mr. Piper's response set forth above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Piper's responses to all questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information based upon the his understanding of the facts stated in the question, and are for the general educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual. Also, a particular case may involve additional facts and circumstances which might invalidate some or all of the concepts provided in this answer and therefore you should not rely upon this answer in any individual situation. In order to offer legal advice about this or any similar situation, a qualified attorney would likely need to consider many factors not stated in the question and would need to question the potential client in order to clarify the specific facts operable in that case. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney in your state. Mr. Piper is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio, and may be contacted directly via email at:

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