Debt Collection Lawsuits Debt Settlement Fair Debt Collection Law Podcasts

How to Draft an Answer to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in 3 Steps

How to Draft an Answer to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in 3 Steps

**Examine Out the Up to date Info on the Finish of this Article on “How to Draft Your Own Answer to a Debt Buyer Lawsuit” **

As soon as the preliminary shock and panic of being sued by a debt purchaser wears off you in all probability have thought to your self, “now what in the world do I do!?”  Properly, as I’ve talked about in prior articles, it’s essential to act.  Doing nothing will end result in wage garnishment and all types of further monetary issues.  If a debt purchaser has sued you, your first step is to put collectively a response to their grievance.

Earlier than we get into the nitty gritty of the way you truly draft your response it’s useful to go over what numerous paperwork include and what they’re referred to as.  At this stage you possible have two paperwork, the Grievance and Summons:

Summons:     The Summons is the doc that ought to have been served on you by the method server once they initially dropped off the lawsuit.  This doc is necessary as a result of it is going to inform you precisely what number of days you’ve gotten to submit your response to the courtroom.  When you get the Summons ensure you write down in your calendar when the deadline is to reply.  You don’t need to miss this deadline!

Grievance:    The Grievance is what most individuals contemplate the “lawsuit”.  A great way to take a look at the Grievance is as a listing of allegations the plaintiff (the individual/firm suing  you) has  towards the defendant (you).  At this level nothing has been confirmed, it’s simply a listing of allegations.

Answer:    The formal doc you draft in response to the Grievance is the “Answer”.  That is the doc we’re going to find out how to draft in this text.  On this doc you’ll be admitting or denying the allegations the debt purchaser has filed towards you.

Pleading:  A pleading is principally any formal courtroom doc, such because the Grievance, the Answer, and so on.

Step 1 – The Caption

Half of having the ability to draft an Answer is just understanding precisely how the doc is about up and what it wants to seem like.  Under is an instance of what’s referred to as the caption of the Answer:

This caption is an instance from a native courtroom right here in Arizona.  Nevertheless, the caption for many courts look comparable.  Within the higher left hand nook of the doc you set your contact info.  That is so the lawyer for the debt purchaser and the courtroom will know the place to ship future paperwork and pleadings and they also understand how to contact you if mandatory.  For those who take a look at the Grievance this is identical space the place you will discover the contact info for the lawyer of the debt purchaser.

Under that, centered on the web page is the identify of the courtroom the place the lawsuit was filed.  That is necessary as a result of it lets you realize the place you want to file your Answer after you have accomplished drafting it.

Subsequent, in the field on the left is a itemizing of the events to the lawsuit.  The primary celebration is the plaintiff and would be the creditor who’s suing you. Under that’s your identify because the defendant in the lawsuit.

Two issues are listed in the field on the suitable: the case quantity that has been assigned by the courtroom, and the title of the doc you’re submitting.  You will get the case quantity from the Grievance or the Summons you acquired earlier.  Copy it precisely because it seems on these paperwork.  The title for the doc you’re engaged on now’s the Answer.

The area under these two packing containers is the place you’ll draft your response to the allegations of the Grievance.  It’s important to notice that you simply don’t want any fancy software program and the caption may even be handwritten in most locations.  Simply as long as it has the wanted info you ought to be wonderful.

Step 2 – Responding to the Allegations

Now that the caption has been drafted  you want to get into the guts of your Answer – whether or not you agree or disagree with the allegations discovered in the Grievance.  Many individuals make this manner more durable then it wants to be.  The Answer just isn’t the time to show your innocence or clarify why you have been in debt in the primary place.  You want to stick 100% to the allegations in the Grievance.  There are actually solely three solutions – you admit the allegation, you deny the allegation, otherwise you merely don’t know.

As you draft this part you’re going to want to have the Grievance out so you possibly can reference precisely what’s being alleged towards you.  The plaintiff ought to have damaged down the allegations into numbered paragraphs.  You want to reply (or Answer) every of these paragraphs.  Once more, there are solely three solutions, admit, deny, otherwise you don’t know.  Under is an instance of every sort of reply (with a little “legalese” combined in):

The best way many attorneys will put together to draft an Answer is by taking a copy of the Grievance and going by way of it and writing subsequent to every numbered paragraph whether or not they admit or deny the allegations in specific paragraph.  Then they’ll hearth up their pc and formally write it out like I did in the above instance.  You need to admit these issues which are correct and deny these issues that don’t seem to be correct.  So, what do you do if a part of the allegation is true and half is just not true?  You’ll be able to mix the 2 by saying one thing like “In response to paragraph one, Defendants admit that they are residents of Arizona but deny all remaining allegations”. Principally, you’re admitting what’s true and denying these issues that aren’t true.

Repeat this for every numbered paragraph all through the Grievance.  Now that you’ve responded to the allegations, there’s another step that you simply want to full that may let the plaintiff/debt purchaser know that they’re coping with a true Shopper Warrior!  The affirmative defenses.

Step 3 – Asserting Your Affirmative Defenses

An affirmative protection is principally you arguing new information or authorized arguments that, if true, will permit you to defeat the debt purchaser’s lawsuit, even when all the things the debt purchaser is alleging is true.  (what?).  We will borrow a good instance from the world of legal regulation that may make this a little simpler to perceive.  Suppose somebody has been charged with homicide.  The defendant might allege an affirmative protection of madness or self-defense.  Principally, the defendant can be saying, sure, all the allegations of the prosecutor are true, I did kill that individual, however I’ve an excuse, I used to be insane/acted in self-defense!

Equally, you’ll be able to increase a majority of these defenses in civil instances.  Under is a listing of widespread affirmative defenses in debt purchaser lawsuits:

  • The statute of Limitations:  with this affirmative protection you’re principally asserting that even when all the debt consumers allegations are true, the time-frame in which they’re permitted to file a lawsuit towards you has handed and the case have to be dismissed.
  • Laches: that is the sister to statute of limitations.  Primarily you’re alleging that there was a prejudicial delay by the plaintiff in bringing the lawsuit.  That is totally different from the statute of limitations in that the violation of the statute of limitations is the violation of a particular statute.  As an example, in Arizona, the statute of limitations for a written contract is 6 years.  Nevertheless with laches, even when the time interval has not expired but, you possibly can allege that a delay by the plaintiff has had a prejudicial influence upon you (that is the kind of stuff that makes your head harm!).
  • Cost: This one is a little simpler.  Primarily you’re alleging you’ve got paid the debt that’s owed.
  • Statute of Frauds: the statute of frauds requires that sure forms of contracts be in writing.  For example, most actual property contracts have to be in writing.
  • Failure to Identify an Important Get together:  That is a widespread one in debt purchaser lawsuits as typically they’ve named the flawed social gathering or have failed to embrace a wanted social gathering.

There are lots of different affirmative defenses.  A great place to search for further steerage is the Federal Guidelines of Civil Process and the Guidelines of Civil Process for the state in which you reside (Google them).

One ultimate notice, it is necessary to assert an affirmative protection, even should you aren’t 100% positive it is going to be relevant as a result of in some situations in the event you don’t assert the affirmative protection in your Answer you’ll have waived it.

The Answer is Drafted, Now What?

Now that you’ve drafted the Answer it’s time to get it filed with the courtroom.  Print out the unique, signal it, after which make two copies.  Go down to the courthouse, file the doc with the clerk (be ready to pay a submitting payment – name forward to discover out what your courtroom fees).  Ask the clerk to stamp the opposite two copies you introduced with you.  Hold one copy in your data and mail a copy of your Answer to the lawyer for the debt purchaser.  Most courts won’t ship the plaintiff a copy of your Answer so it will be significant you do that in order that they know not to proceed with the paperwork for a default judgment.

Now that the Answer is drafted you want to analysis what the subsequent procedures are in your state.  Submitting the Answer will provide help to keep away from having a default judgment entered towards you however it doesn’t imply you will have gained your case.  You will have to do further analysis and probably contact an lawyer to get recommendation as how to proceed going ahead.

Additionally, you do want to perceive that when you all the time have the correct to symbolize your self in courtroom and typically want to out of necessity, there are occasions when it’s merely not a good concept.  I all the time advocate consulting with an lawyer to talk about your choices and get an concept of the complexity of the case you’re defending.  Good luck!


I wrote the article over six years in the past but I nonetheless get hundreds of individuals every month who learn it.  I additionally proceed to meet with people who find themselves struggling by means of a wage garnishment as a result of they failed to file an Answer and ended up having a default judgment entered towards them.

I perceive that many individuals can’t afford an lawyer however nonetheless need assistance.  With that in thoughts, I created a 5 half video course that goes step-by-step by means of the method of “How to Draft an Answer to a Debt Purchaser Lawsuit“.

You will discover extra info on the course by clicking HERE.  Good luck together with your case!


fbq(‘init’, ‘1465500253755282’); // Insert your pixel ID right here.
fbq(‘monitor’, ‘PageView’);