Summons are provided by court. The summons is the document that officially starts a lawsuit. It must be in a form prescribed by the law governing procedure in the court involved, and it must be properly served on, or delivered to the defendant. It commands the defendant to appear before the court on a specific day and to answer the complaint made by the plaintiff. Once the summons and complaint are served on the defendant, he/she must respond to them within the time the court provides.