How to answer a summons for credit card debt?

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How to answer a summons for credit card debt?

The debt is valid but amount is questionable. Also planning to file bankruptcy soon. Have other debts that also having trouble paying. At the time this is the only company filing suit. Need to know how to answer to have more time to consult with bankruptcy attorney and complete and gather required paperwork.

Asked on February 9, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have a couple of options.  You could do nothing and the creditor would get a default judgment against you.  Since you are going to file bankruptcy anyway, you could include the amount of the judgment in the bankruptcy.

Another option would be to file an Answer to the Complaint.  The Complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons.  The Answer denies the allegations in the Complaint.  At the law library, look in Pleading and Practice.  Look in the index of Pleading and Practice for Answer to Complaint.  This will give you the general format for an Answer and will also have some sample Answers to Complaints.  Use the general format to deny the allegations in the Complaint.  At the end of the Answer is the verification which must be included.  It attests to the veracity of your statements in the Answer  and is signed under penalty of perjury. 

You should file the Answer to the Complaint (including the verification) with the court and include an attached proof  of service.  The proof of service confirms the date of mailing.  You can use a court form proof of service or you can write your own.  If you write your own proof of service, it just says that you are over 18 and the attached documents were mailed on _______ (date) to _______ (name and address of attorney for the creditor).  You sign and date the proof of service.  The date you sign should be the same as the mailing date and the same as the date you file your documents with the court.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to file a general denial as against the allegations in the complaint. If you go down to the courthouse listed on the summons and complaint and speak with the clerk they usually have someone there to help you file it.   You need to raise what is known as affirmative defenses such as failure to state a cause of action; failure to properly serve you (lack of personal jurisdiction), statute of limitations.  Also add that if the court finds that the underlying debt is valid the amount sued for in the complaint needs to be determined.  I really do not know how long this will buy you in the matter.  I would consult with the bankruptcy attorney as soon as you can before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.  Good luck.


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