How Do I Answer a Debt Lawsuit?

Handling Debt Lawsuits

Getting a summons and learning you are being sued can be overwhelming and confusing when you are unsure what your next course of action should be. You have the option of seeking legal assistance to help you resolve the matter. In answering the summons, there are several steps to take that may help you save money especially if you feel the lawsuit has no merit.

In answering the suit, the county courthouse has a form that is used to submit an answer to the court: Notice of Appearance. Many court websites have the form available for download. Once the form is completed it should be filed with the county clerk. There could be a filing fee required upon submitting. Filing an answer avoids a default judgment.

In some states, you may look to have a debt lawsuit dismissed before filing an answer. This may depend on rules of the local court.  A dismissal may be sought if it was filed against statue of limitations that have expired or without proving the debt is actually yours.

Answering a lawsuit includes reviewing details of the summons and gathering information to use in your defense. An example of defense may be a bankruptcy filing that included the debt. You can provide paperwork pertaining to your bankruptcy showing the debt was qualified to be discharged.

Once you file your answer report to court on the scheduled date, the plaintiff (the party who filed suit against you) has 3 ways to respond: request a dismissal, request another court date or request discovery in which you would submit information to support your claim.