The Importance of a Correct Citation

What is a citation?  It is the additional document the clerks make to send with the original petition for service.

What does it do? Among other things, a citation lays out the rights a defendant to a lawsuit has, the answer day, the parties, and that if the defendant fails to respond, a default judgment could be entered against him.

Why is it important?  Well, mainly because it is required under Texas law.  And if it is wrong, the defendant can have a default judgment overturned.  That’s time and money wasted.

An example?  Well, in Heike Curley v. Michael Curley, 2014 WL 3867798, a defendant was served in a divorce case that involved children.  Unfortunately, the citation used did not have the children listed.  The defendant failed to answer, and a default was entered.  The defendant then was able to overturn the default on appeal because of the defective citation.

The take away? Make sure your citations are correct.  It is on you, not the court, because if a default is entered on a defective citation, and then the defendant files the appeal, there is going to be a new trial.

About CJ.Harding
Chris believes one of the most important aspects of family law is seeing the 'big picture.' This means understanding the law, the facts of your case and the range of possible outcomes. Only after knowing each of those can an attorney convey the risks and potential results and guide you to make the right decision for your case, your life and your family. He understands every person and every case is unique. Chris will advocate for the very best possible result in your case. He has worked on a variety of family law cases, including tracing of assets, property division of estates worth more than one million dollars, international and interstate child custody issues, enforcement actions as well as pre-marital and post-marital agreements. Chris continues to be a student of the Law and helps to educate others by maintaining the "Hot Topics" section of the Firm web site, which features current issues in Texas family law. Topics have included how a bankruptcy can affect child support and the differences between alimony and court ordered spousal maintenance. Chris joined the firm after graduating cum laude from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. During his time at SMU, Chris competed in numerous mock and moot competitions and placed nationally. Chris is a native Texan, growing up in the Houston area and completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

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