September 24, 2019
“I love getting sued for a debt” — said no one ever. This article will make the process a little bit easier and tell you how to answer a summons for debt collection in California.
Below, you'll find helpful topics on how to answer a summons for debt collection in the Golden State. This list includes information specific to filing in California, like state deadlines and forms.
40 days if the documents were served on someone else in your household or they were mailed to you.
The General Denial Form - Use this form if you disagree with the entire complaint.
Answer Form - Use this form if you disagree with only a part or agree with the entire complaint.
Use these official instructions to fill out the forms.
You know you're being sued for a debt if you receive a document in the mail saying you're being sued for a debt. This document is called a Summons and Complaint. Normally, you only have 14 days to do respond to the complaint. You can respond with either an Answer document or a Motion; usually, you'll want to respond with an Answer document.
There are four steps to respond to a complaint.
Let's take a look at each one.
Answering the complaint can be scary, but with these instructions it will be simple. Just read the complaint and then decide how you want to respond to each numbered paragraph. You can respond in one of three ways:
Just choose one of these answers and write it into your Answer. If you choose “disagree” you can explain why you disagree.
In California's forms, you can admit (agree), deny (disagree), or deny because of lack of sufficient information (I don't know). Check the box for the appropriate answer.
“Assert affirmative defenses” means give reasons for why you shouldn't lose the lawsuit or why you don't owe the debt. Add the relevant defenses to your answer.
Here are some of the more common defenses we see:
These are a few of the many affirmative defenses. Being unable to pay the debt is not a legal defense to the debt.
This can be the most difficult part of the process. California courts require defendant debtors who don't have an attorney to file the answer by mail or in person. So here's what you need to do:
The address for both should be in the Summons and Complaint you received in the mail. The attorney's address should be on the top left of the first page. The court's address should be in the first two paragraphs.
Follow the official instructions here, under “Filing your papers in court”.