How should I reply to a summons and where do I start? 13 Answers as of September 17, 2015

I was issued a summons on a debt by an attorney yesterday and I have 20 days to respond. I have been in touch with the plaintiff to work out a settlement prior. I called today and talked to the plaintiff about this summons and she told me that it is protocol and to respond so my wages do not get garnished. How do I go about replying to this summons? Do I need to file with the court? I have no idea what to! Thank you!

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Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
First things first: if the summons and complaint ask for a lot of money, or any other relief that is costlyand perhaps even if the legal matter is smallit's almost always a good idea to consult a lawyer. They will be aware of possible defences, and will know how to ask you for all the relevant facts. That said, the summons itself should tell you a good part of what you must do. It almost certainly tells you to file an Answer with the Court, copy to the lawyer who is suing you. Your answer should identify the case by name and number (e.g. Griffin vs. Boulder, Case No. 2015 SC 1234or something similar). It should respond to each assertion in the Complaint with the words 'deny, 'admit' or 'lack sufficient information to form a belief as to the accuracy of the averments of this paragraph, and therefore deny it and put Plaintiff strictly to his/her/its/their proof thereon.' There are a few other possible responses. Find a skilled lawyer to represent you. It's generally worth the cost.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/17/2015
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
A summons is merely the proof that a lawsuit [complaint] has been filed against you. If you do not file an answer within the allocated time, a default judgment can be taken against you which means you are not allowed to contest that your are responsible for the debt plaintiff claims you owe and you also can not challenge the amount the plaintiff claims is owed. In California, which I assume is not where you live since 30 days is given to file an answer, a default can not be entered unless the complaint or a subsequent statement of damages is filed on you. You do not state where you live.for a specific amount. Nor do you say if you owe the money claimed and how much it is, so I have no idea whether you should fight the complaint or not. You probably can just file a general denial [if you are poor, you can ask the court for a waiver of the filing fee]. Wages can not be garnished without a judgment being first entered and there is a limit on how much can be taken. Filing suit is not a mere formality. The plaintiff may not be being honest with you. If you had agreed to a settlement, they would not have filed suit. ?You should contact some local attorneys to see what they can do to help you and for advice on what to do. The first 15-20 minute interview is usually free, but verify that with the attorney first.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/17/2015
Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
Directions on how to answer the complain should be stated in the complain.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 9/16/2015
Novakov & Associates, PLLC
Novakov & Associates, PLLC | LINDA S. NOVAKOV
An answer needs to be filed to protect your interests in the case. I would recommend engaging an attorney to help you file that document. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a default judgment filed. If you enter into a payment arrangement, an agreed entry setting out the payment arrangements can be placed in the record, and when all the payments are made, a satisfaction can be filed in the record.
Answer Applies to: Kentucky
Replied: 9/16/2015
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
A summons is an order to show up in court. It has probably been issued at the request of the Plaintiff. If you work something out with the Plaintiff before the court date, make sure the court knows and and that you do not have to appear. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 9/16/2015
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    There would also have been a Complaint with the Summons and you do need to file an Answer to same with the Court within the allotted time frame, with a copy to the other side, or you will be Defaulted and owe all the money requested + costs. You can file the Answer yourself or hire an attorney to do so on your behalf. If you make a Settlement Agreement in lieu of filing an Answer, be sure it is in writing and handled before the time for filing your Answer and/or that you get an Extension within which to Answer (and that the Extension is also in writing and filed with the Court).
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You need to retain an attorney. Do not miss the 20 day deadline. Doing so will result in a default judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Yes, you must file and serve a copy of your answer or response. Many courts have a ?self-help? service.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    You have several options. 1) borrow money and pay the debt right now, before the costs and interest add up. 2) get a lawyer, and if you have a defense to the debt, that lawyer can do what is necessary. 3) if you have not defense to the debt, but are merely strapped for money, you might go immediately to the court clerk of the court in which the suit was filed, and ask for a form requesting the judge to put you into a payment plan on the case, based on your proveable wages and expenses.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Will have to answer the summons and complaint and make whatever defense you have or you will be defaulted, a judgment entered against you, and the creditor able whatever actions are available to them to collect under the law. I would suggest that you confer was an attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    You file an answer with the court setting forth your position and mail a copy of the answer to the attorney who filed the suit.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Law Office of Joshua R.I. Cohen
    Law Office of Joshua R.I. Cohen | Joshua Cohen
    You might want to talk to an attorney that does debt defense (like me). You may have a defense, or might be able to get a better deal.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/16/2015
    Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
    You have to file an appearance with the court. In some IL counties, a personal appearance is required by the summons. If you are sued for over $10,000, an answer or motion is required. Consult an attorney who defends the type of case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/16/2015
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