Received Civil Summons

Has the sheriff come knocking on your door or did you receive a summons by certified mail? Either way, it’s important to do something about it or you are going to get a default judgment against you.

The first thing you want to do is check your court rules and check what the plaintiff has attached to the summons. For example, was a credit card agreement, contract or assignment attached?

According to your local rules, should they be attached to the complaint at the time you are served? Check with your court to make sure.

If these documents are supposed to be attached to the complaint, were they? If not, go back to your court rules and see if you can file a motion to dismiss in lieu of your answer. Your motion to dismiss would be for failure to comply with the court rule that requires a contract or assignment to be attached to the complaint when served.

If your court does not have a rule necessitating that the contract or assignment be attached, you must now read the summons carefully. It will tell you exactly how many days you have to answer the summons and complaint before you will be in default.

Most states give 20 to 30 days to respond. Check your court rules under “pleadings” to see how long you have but it is much easier to just read the summons as it will state you have XX days to answer.

If you fail to answer your summons, the plaintiff will file for a default judgment against you and this will give them the authority to freeze your bank account and garnish your wages.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you really need to look around this site for some help to answer your summons accurately and in a timely way or face the consequences. I know you are nervous and scared about all of this and if you cannot afford a lawyer, I’m sure this site is going to really help you.

Now that you have received your summons you are going to have to either file an answer or a motion to dismiss. If the plaintiff did not comply with the court rule requiring them to attach the contract or assignment with the complaint, filing a motion to dismiss is your best option.

To get started straight away, go to the answer category here.



Additional Information


  • avatar Mary

    “Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your site and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!”


  • avatar Teresa

    “I received a summons on 3/39/10. Today is 8/27/10. I was going to file for bankruptcy and did not respond, but now I am not filing for BK anymore, but it is way passed the 30 days to file a written response. What can I do now?”


  • avatar Arturo Guzman

    “I receive a Summon from a loan, before I lost my bussiness. It is almost $9 000.00. How can I respond?”


  • avatar Mark

    “To Teresa, it’s past the required time to send in your Answer. However, you can still negotiate judgements which is what the creditor now has. In fact you may have even more negotiating power because your debt may be with a 3rd. or even 4th Collection Co. also most states judgement is valid for one year. Best of luck, and you made the right move by Not Filing “BK” P/S Yes Good Site…”