What to do when you get Legal Papers?

It has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.  You are working, perhaps at your job, or you jut got home and there is a strange person there with an envelope.  You hope against hope that it is not a package from 1) the IRS and/or 2) an attorney.  The person may be a plain clothes process server you have never seen before or even a sheriff’s deputy or constable.  What do you do? Run? Scream? Invoke the Castle Doctrine? No.

Image courtesy of pixbox77 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Breath. Take the papers. Be polite to that person, as they may later be a witness.  If not nice, at least be indifferent.

What to do When you get Legal Papers?

  • 1) Take the papers.
  • 2) Review the papers.
  • 3) Make a copy.
  • 4) Take them to an attorney.

“Okay. I took the papers. What next?” Call your lawyer.  DO NOT IGNORE THE PAPERS!  Do not put them in the car to be forgotten. Do not pile them up with your junk mail.

In most instances the moment you received those papers a potentially critical deadline began to run.  That deadline can be from 2 days to 7 to 30 or 45 days, but nonetheless a clock is now ticking.

On numerous occasions I have had a potential client call and say that they have Court on Wednesday. I think, “well today is Monday they can’t do that.” My next questions is when did you get the papers? “June. About a month and a half ago”  Yikes. Don’t do this.

Think of all the anxiety they have put themselves through with the weight of those legal papers on their mind. If you get papers take them to an attorney.  Have them reviewed, know what they mean and how you need to respond to them.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and has been served papers before, so he knows what he’s talking about.  Trust the Bow Tie.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer    Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.

Go to the Fair!

MS State Fair, October 2012.

It’s the first weekend in October in Mississippi. The air is cool and crisp in the mornings. We are enjoying some of the best weather Mississippi has to offer and the Mississippi State Fair is in town for nearly two weeks!

Attending the fair is an annual tradition in our family. We go for food, fun and to see the “sights.” The Mississippi fair is as diverse a cross-section of MS as you can get; young and old, blue collar, white collar and no collar. Half of the fun is people watching.

Some great memories are of the “arm-band” nights and riding the rides, always being a little nervous that they could come flying apart and send your hurdling towards High Street. It never happened. It was also fun to watch the Hurricane, the Cyclone, or whatever the “natural disaster” named twisting ride was in action that year. Ever wondered what that hose is for nearby?

Enjoy some junk food, but not too much. Oh, and if you are wondering what is legal about this…Go to the Fair, don’t have an Affair!


  • What are the ride ticket prices? 4 coupons = $5; 22 coupons – $25; 55 coupons – $60
  • When do they start charging at the gates? During the weekdays at 1:00. On weekends at 9:00 A.M. Saturdays and 10:00 A.M. Sundays.
  • Do you have to pay for parking? Yes, Parking on the MS State Fairgrounds is $5.00. Businesses outside the fairgrounds charge their own rates for parking and it not controlled by the Fair Commission
  • How much are arm bands? Arm band rates are different for each special. Please check our website for more information.
  • Can I bring a wagon for my children? Yes
  • What time are the concerts? Most concerts begin at 7:30 P.M.
  • Do I have to pay gate admission if I’m buying an armband? Yes, gate admission is not included in the cost of the armband
  • When do the rides begin? Please check the website for the times that the rides will begin each day.
** Please check the website at www.msfair.net for all information regarding the fair.

Know What is Going on in Your Case!

There have been countless times that I have spoken to a potential client (PC, not to be confused with a personal computer), that has been represented by another attorney, and the PC does not know what is happening in their own case.  This is unbelievable to me.  They do not know what was filed, they do not know if it has been set for trial, they do not know who the judge is.

A Family Law case is just about the most difficult thing that you do as an adult, short of a death of a close family member.  And in some instances Divorce can be worse because it’s the “death” of a marriage and you still have to co-exist with the other party.  At least if they were dead you wouldn’t have to deal with them.  Glib humor aside, Family Law is hard.

David Castillo Dominici/ freedigitalphotos.net

As a client you should know what has been filed; a Joint Complaint or a Fault based Complaint, you should know if you have Court coming up, and you should know who the Judge is.  Now, if you were told all of this and chose not to place this info into your permanent memory banks because you have confidence in your attorney and your goal is to get through today, that is ok.  But, if you don’t know the details because it has not been explained to you, it is time for a sit down and a heart to heart, seeing eye to eye with your attorney. (BTW, all attorneys have been guilty of this a time or two…)  Don’t be afraid to ask  who, what, when, where and why?  Their job is to answer those questions.

Now in defense of attorneys, sometimes we do explain things and they are misunderstood or are somewhat complex and a short explanation has to do for the meantime.  Persons going through Family Law situations can be highly emotional and sometimes it’s information overload.  In that circumstance you may choose NOT to explain everything or  ask that a family member or trusted friend attend with the client for an in-person meeting.   Sometimes the attorney is speaking pig-latin, a bad habit.

As a client, ask what is going on. Know what is going on.  It is the rest of your life.  (It may just be another case for the attorney.)

Divorce, Child Custody & Support, Alimony, Contempt, Modification, Adoption, Appeals, Corporate Counsel, Professional Licensure Issues, and Civil Litigation.

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