Summons vs. Subpoena – Divorce Attorney for Men


Summons vs Subpoena maryland

The terms Summons and Subpoena are the legal terms used extensively in courts and lawyers. You usually hear the words in films and television also. Most people assume that both the words are the same and get confused about reacting if they are served with one of them. Read the article to know the main differences between Summons and Subpoena and how to deal with them if you are presented with any one of them.


A summon is an official lawsuit notification given to a person sued in court by some other person. Legally speaking, Summons gives you information that you have been sued in court and should attend the hearing and fight the lawsuit. A summons is necessary for a case to be filed appropriately and presented in court.

According to the court’s rules and regulations, the defendant must be served with a lawsuit.

What Is Included In Summons?

Summons generally contain the following information.

  • Party or person name receiving the Summons
  • Details of the defendant and plaintiff
  • The Name of the court issuing the Summons
  • The number assigned to Summons and also an overview of the case
  • The detailed schedule of a case for information to the defendant


On the other hand, Subpoena is a legal document that requires the person to attend the court for the hearing. There are some incidents or cases where the witnesses are unwilling to attend the court. A Subpoena can be served to compel the witness to come to court. A subpoena can also be used for making a person submit all the evidence or documents. Not compiling with a subpoena can lead to contempt of court actions against the person.

How Can Subpoena be served?

A subpoena can be served in three ways.

1. Registered Mail

In the case of Subpoena, the special USPS service ensures that the sender gets confirmation once the item is delivered. The receiver also needs to sign the official receipt confirming that the Subpoena is received.

2. Delivered by Hand by Sheriff

Sheriffs can also be used to serve the Subpoena, but there are certain drawbacks to this service. The sheriff is required to complete the service only once.

3. Served By Registered Process Server

Registered Process Server is a special service that can be used to deliver your Subpoena’s timely delivery. The document is hand-delivered and done multiple times in a day and ensures that the item is delivered.

For the Subpoena to be effective, the recipient must receive the documents. So it is better to choose either the Sheriff or Registered Process Server service for seamless delivery.

Differences Between Summons And Subpoena

Although both Summons and Subpoena look the same, there are certain differences between them. Some of the differences are

1. Summons is just a court case, and a person is required for the case to proceed. A Subpoena is a demand for evidence that is produced in the court.

2. A court case usually starts with Summons, and later a subpoena can be issued for the submission of evidence before the court.

3. Summonses and Subpoena both can be criminal or civil proceedings.

4. Summonses are served by a local sheriff or a licensed private detective. Anyone can serve a subpoena by just getting them from the circuit clerk and paying the required fee.

Can Summons Or Subpoena Be Ignored?

A summon is an invitation from the court to attend the case hearing. Summon is not an order, and you don’t need to follow it, but neglecting can make you lose the case, and the person suing you will benefit in the court. On the other hand, Subpoena is an order by the court to come for a hearing in the court. There is a possibility that you could go to jail if the Subpoena is ignored. You need to consult an experienced lawyer once you receive a summon or Subpoena.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you have received a Summon or Subpoena, you should contact an experienced attorney to get proper guidance. Alice Pare is an experienced men’s divorce attorney in Germantown, MD, who can help you get out if a summon or Subpoena is served. Contact us for a free initial consultation.

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