What to do if you have moved but are being sued in your old locale?

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What to do if you have moved but are being sued in your old locale?

My wife and I are both on unemployment and have been so for over a year. We used to live in NJ, but now we live with family in NY. My wife just got a summons from the Superior Court of NJ, Law Division, Special Civil Part. She s being sued by a credit card company for non-payment. What should we do.

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lawsuit can be filed where the plaintiff (credit card company is located) or where the defendant ( your wife resides) or where the claim arose.  The case could be filed in NJ if the claim arose there (credit card charges were incurred in NJ).

Your wife will need to file an answer to the complaint with the court before the deadline stated in the summons expires.  The answer will also need to be served by mail on the credit card company or its attorney.  The complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons.  At the law library, look for answer to complaint in the index of Pleading and Practice.  This will give you the general format for an answer to a complaint.  The answer denies the allegations in the complaint.  At the end of the answer is the verification which attests to the veracity of the statements in the answer.  The verification should be signed by your wife under penalty of perjury.  Attach a proof of service to the answer to the complaint.  The proof of service verifies the date of mailing the answer to the opposing party.  You can use a court form proof of service or you can write your own.  If you write your own, it just says that you are over 18 and the attached documents were sent via first class mail unless specified otherwise to ____________ (name and address of opposing party) on __________ (date).  You sign and date the proof of service at the bottom.  The date signed should be the same as the date of mailing and the same date the documents are filed with the court.

If you don't file an answer to the complaint within the time period set forth in the summons, you will lose by default.  If that happens and a default judgment is entered, your wife will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants the motion to set aside the default, the case is then back on track and litigation will continue.


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