How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Texas

George Simons

September 25, 2019

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Texas (2019 Guide)

“Nothing brings more joy to my heart than a fresh lawsuit delivered to my door nice and early in the morning.” — said no one ever.

Getting sued for a debt is hard. This article will make the process of responding to a debt lawsuit a little bit easier and tell you how to answer a summons for debt collection in Texas.

Below, you'll find helpful topics on how to answer a summons for debt collection in the Lone Star State. This list includes information specific to filing in Texas, like state deadlines and forms.

Texas Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

Generally, you have 20 days plus until the following Monday, at 10 am to file an Answer. Count all the calendar days including weekends and holidays. This one is complicated.

Texas Answer to Summons Forms

Defendant's Answer - This is the general answer form. It is quite thorough and good for most debt collection cases.

Online Guided Defendant's Answer - This link allows you to generate and file an answer online. Start by creating an account.

Other Forms - Here are other useful forms for a debt collection case in Texas.

Steps to Respond to a Debt Collection Case in Texas

When you're sued, you'll receive two documents in the mail, or someone will physically hand them to you. These documents are called a Summons and Complaint. In Texas, you have 20 days plus until the following Monday, at 10 am to file an Answer. Count all the calendar days including weekends and holidays. You can respond with either an Answer document or a Motion; usually, you'll want to respond with an Answer document.

There are three steps to respond to the complaint.

  1. Answer each issue of the complaint
  2. Assert affirmative defenses
  3. File one copy of the Answer document with the court and serve the plaintiff with another copy.

Let's take a look at each step.

1. Answer each issue of the Complaint.

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:

  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • I don't know

Just choose one of these answers and write it into your Answer. If you choose “disagree” you can explain why you disagree.

Use these official instructions to make your complaint in Texas. On the Texas Answer Form, you can make a general denial if you disagree with everything in the complaint; you can also make specific pleas, or request, assert affirmative defenses, and make a Request for Judgment.

2. Assert affirmative defenses.

To assert affirmative defenses, you simply state reasons why the person suing you has no case. Add the relevant defenses to your answer.

Here are some of the more common defenses we see:

  • The account with the debt is not your account
  • The contract was already canceled. Therefore you don't owe the creditor anything.
  • The statute of limitations has expired. A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline on an action. In this case, the statute of limitations sets the deadline at 6 years, so you can't be sued for a debt based on a contract from six years ago.
  • The debt has been paid or excused.
  • The debt has been partially paid.
  • You were a co-signer but were not informed of your rights as a co-signer.

These are a few of the many affirmative defenses. Being unable to pay the debt is not normally a legal defense to the debt.

3. File the answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Oftentimes, actually filing the answer can be difficult. Luckily, it's a bit easier in Texas, because Texas allows you to generate and file the answer online.

To e-file your documents, simply go here to get started.

If you'd rather work with a paper document, here's what you do.

  • Print two copies of your Answer
  • Mail one copy to the court
  • Mail the other copy to the plaintiff's attorney.

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.

It's free to file in Texas.

Good luck!