How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Idaho

George Simons

October 01, 2019

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

“My debt collector is my best friend!” — said no one ever.

No one likes getting sued for a debt. It can be stressful and unfamiliar. But the good news is that even without any legal training, you can defend yourself. If you read and follow the steps outlined below, you will learn how to file the right documents to challenge the lawsuit against you and protect yourself from garnishment.

Every lawsuit begins with a Summons and Complaint. Once those documents have been filed, they must be served on you. Once you have been served, a clock starts ticking, meaning you only have a certain amount of time to respond.

Idaho Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

21 days – In Idaho, you only have 21 days to file an Answer with the court after you're served the Summons and Complaint. There are several things to remember:

  • The date you are served with the Summons and Complaint does not count in the calculation. This means that the day after you are given a copy of the Complaint is the first day.
  • You must respond within 21 days. This means you really only have 20 days.
  • This includes weekends and non-business holidays. 21 days is 21 days. But if the Court is closed on the 21st day, the deadline becomes the next day it is open.

If you miss the deadline, you have missed your chance to defend yourself. In only rare circumstances will a judge let you fight a lawsuit after you've missed the deadline.

If you have missed the deadline, the debt collector is entitled to a default judgment. This means the judge will grant their request to allow them to collect the full amount of the money they claim is owed. If that amount is wrong, or you do not legally owe the money, it is now too late to do anything about it in most cases. So, make sure you don't miss the deadline.

Idaho Sample Answer to Complaint Forms

To respond to the lawsuit you must file a document called an "Answer." This is different from a reply or response, both of which are different legal documents. So if you are searching the internet for forms or information, use the word “answer” and ignore anything about a “reply” or “response.”

By filing an answer, you are letting the Court know that you want to dispute some or all of the claims made in the lawsuit against you. If you do not file anything, the Court will not know you want to fight the allegations and will assume that they are true.

First, you need to prepare the document. Luckily, Idaho has a fillable form that you can use that will format everything correctly. So start by using that form.

Use one of the official forms available here and here.

Steps to Answer a Summons in Idaho

1. Answer each issue of the Complaint.

You need to let the court know what parts of the lawsuit you disagree with. This is done by letting the court know you either:

  • Agree
  • Disagree
  • Don't have enough information to either admit or deny the allegations.

A complaint has numbered paragraphs which makes the process easier. First, write a sentence saying “All claims are denied unless specifically agreed to below.” Then go through, taking each paragraph one-by-one and respond in one of three ways. It might look something like this,

“Defendant denies the allegations set forth in Paragraph 1,”

“Defendant does not have enough information to either admit or deny the allegations in Paragraph 3,”

Please remember, if you tell the Court you agree with a paragraph you may be unable to deny it later. There is no rule against denying every paragraph but you should agree if the paragraph is true. Also, do not skip any paragraphs; each numbered paragraph should have a response.

2. Assert Your Defenses.

But what if you want to do more than just deny a paragraph? What if you have a legal defense? Sometimes called an “affirmative defense,” a defense is a reason why the person suing you doesn't have a case. List these defenses on your answer.

Here are some of the more common defenses we see:

  • I already paid that debt. This is called satisfaction. If you believe you have already taken care of the debt, you need to tell the judge. You will have to show proof later, but for now, you simply make the allegation.
  • You have the wrong person. First, you should have denied the paragraphs where the Complaint says you owe money and haven't paid. But you can also let the judge know they have the “improper party.” This means that they have the wrong person.
  • The amount is wrong. Sometimes you admit you owe them some money but the amount is wrong. This could be because they miscalculated or maybe they have added fees and/or interest to your balance. If you did not agree to pay the fees or interest, you should dispute it. You can dispute the amount by simply denying the paragraph in the Complaint that states how much the debt is for.
  • This is from years ago. Sometimes a debt is several years old by the time the suit is filed against you. In that case, you should assert a statute of limitations defense. In Idaho, the statute of limitations is 5 years for written contracts or 4 years for an oral contract.

These are a few of the many affirmative defenses. There may be others that meet your circumstances. However, you should be aware that simply being unable to pay the debt is not normally a legal defense to the debt.

(Here's How To File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector)

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

Now that you have prepared the document and included your defenses, you need to sign it and print three copies. The reason you need three copies is that you must file a copy with the Court and also send a copy to the other side or their attorney. You should keep the third copy for your own records.

The process is simple when done in-person. You go to the courthouse with your copies and $116.00. The court clerk will stamp the documents (all copies) with the date and time and then keep one copy. You keep the remaining two. If your court allows e-filing you can avoid a trip to the courthouse.

If you would like to mail your Answer to the court, you can. You will need to include all the copies and a return envelope with postage. The court will mail you back your copies but they will not pay for a stamp typically.

Once it has been filed you must give notice to the other side. This is done by sending them a copy. The good news is the mailing address or email address where you need to send your Answer is included with the Complaint. You can either email or mail your Answer, but you need to retain proof that you sent it. So keep your email or any other documentation of how and when you sent it.

Idaho Court Locations for Debt Collection Lawsuits

American Falls
Power County Courthouse

543 Bannock Ave

American Falls, ID 83211-1200

Arco
Butte County Courthouse

248 W. Corand

Arco, ID 83213-0737

Blackfoot

Bingham County Courthouse

501 N. Maple Street

Blackfoot, ID 83221-1700

Boise

Ada County Courthouse

200 West Front Street

Boise, ID 83702-7300

Bonners Ferry

Boundary County Courthouse

P.O. Box 419

Bonners Ferry, ID 83805-0419

Burley
Cassia County Courthouse

1459 Overland Ave.

Burley, ID 83318-1862

Caldwell

Canyon County Courthouse

1115 Albany Street

Caldwell, ID 83605-3522

Cascade

Valley County Courthouse

PO Box 1350

Cascade, ID 83611-1350

Challis

Custer County Courthouse

801 Main Street

Challis, ID 83226-0385

Coeur D Alene

Kootenai County Courthouse

451 Government Way

Coeur D Alene, ID 83814-2988

Council

Adams County Courthouse

201 Industrial Avenue

Council, ID 83612-0048

Driggs

Teton County Courthouse

89 N. Main Street

Driggs, ID 83422-5164

Dubois

Clark County Courthouse

320 W. Main Street

Dubois, ID 83423-0205

Emmett

Gem County Courthouse

415 E. Main St.

Emmett, ID 83617-3059

Fairfield

Camas County Courthouse

501 Soldier Rd.

Fairfield, ID 83327-9700

Gooding

Gooding County Courthouse

624 Main Street

Gooding, ID 83330-1300

Grangeville

Idaho County Courthouse

320 West Main Street

Grangeville, ID 83530-1948

Hailey

Blaine County Courthouse

206 1st Ave. South

Hailey, ID 83333-8429

Idaho City

Boise County Court

420 Main Street

Idaho City, ID 83631-0000

Idaho Falls

Bonneville County Courthouse

605 N. Capital Ave

Idaho Falls, ID 83402-3582

Jerome

Jerome County Courthouse

300 N. Lincoln Avenue

Jerome, ID 83338-2344

Lewiston

Nez Perce County

1230 Main Street

Lewiston, ID 83501-1975

Malad City

Oneida County Courthouse

10 Court Street

Malad City, ID 83252-0000

Moscow

Latah County Courthouse

522 South Adams Street, Suite 1

Moscow, ID 83843-2971

Mountain Home

Elmore County Courthouse

150 S. 4th East

Mountain Home, ID 83647-3060

Murphy

Owyhee County Courthouse

20381 State Hwy 78

Murphy, ID 83650-0000

Nezperce

Lewis County Court

PO Box39

Nezperce, ID 83543-0039

Orofino

Clearwater County Courthouse

150 Michigan Ave, PO Box 586

Orofino, ID 83544-0000

Paris

Bear Lake County Courthouse

P.O. Box 190

Paris, ID 83261-0190

Payette

Payette County Courthouse

1130 3rd Ave. North # 104

Payette, ID 83661-2400

Pocatello

Bannock County Courthouse

624 E. Center Street

Pocatello, ID 83201-6274

Preston

Franklin County Courthouse

39 W. Oneida Street

Preston, ID 83263-1232

Rexburg

Madison County Courthouse

134 East Main

Rexburg, ID 83440-0389

Rigby

Jefferson County Court

134 N. Clark Street

Rigby, ID 83442-1462

Rupert

Minidoka County Courthouse

P.O. Box 368

Rupert, ID 83350-0368

Saint Anthony

Fremont County Courthouse

151 West 1st North

Saint Anthony, ID 83445-1413

Saint Maries

Benewah County Courthouse

701 College Ave

Saint Maries, ID 83861-1852

Salmon

Lemhi County Courthouse

206 Courthouse Drive

Salmon, ID 83467-3900

Sandpoint

Bonner County Courthouse

215 S. First Avenue

Sandpoint, ID 83864-1305

Shoshone

Lincoln County Courthouse

111 West B. Street

Shoshone, ID 83352-5364

Soda Springs

Caribou County Courthouse

159 S. Main Street

Soda Springs, ID 83276-1427

Twin Falls

Twin Falls County Courthouse

425 Shoshone St. North

Twin Falls, ID 83301-6153

Wallace

Shoshone County Courthouse

700 Bank Street

Wallace, ID 83873-2355

Weiser

Washington County Courthouse

256 E. Court Street

Weiser, ID 83672-2278

Idaho Legal Aid Organizations

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.

(208) 336-8980

1447 S. Tyrell Lane

Boise, ID 83706

ILF Volunteer Lawyers Program

(208) 334-4500

525 W. Jefferson Street

Boise, ID 83702

What happens next

Once you have filed your answer the lawsuit is now in dispute. The next step is for the court to set a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to figure out the schedule and set deadlines for the remainder of the proceeding. Be on the lookout for a scheduling order or a hearing notice in the mail. Often the initial “hearing” is a phone call with everyone on the line to coordinate everyone's schedule.

(Here's How to File a Motion to Satisfy Judgment)

What If I Can't Pay?

Not having the money to pay for the debt is not a legal defense. However, filing bankruptcy would put the debt collection on hold and, depending on your circumstances, may mean you never have to pay back the debt. If you want to know more about bankruptcy, including a free bankruptcy service, check out Upsolve.com

Summary

So, in short, here's the review on how to answer a summons for debt collection in Idaho.

Do these steps:

  1. Answer the Complaint, paragraph by paragraph.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File and serve the Answer.

Good Luck!

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