Answer a "Summons and Complaint" - Debt Collector Lawsuits
About this Program
Welcome! This free program helps you create an Answer to a Summons and Complaint regarding money that someone says you owe.
The program works by asking you questions. It uses your answers to fill out your form. You can print your form and file it with the court.
You need to send a written Answer within 20 days from when you got the Summons and Complaint papers. If you don't, you may automatically lose the lawsuit.
It could take an hour to get through the interview. If you don't have enough time to finish, save your answers by creating an account with LawHelp Interactive. You can create an account now or any time during the interview.
Before you start the interview, you need to read the instructions on the next 4 tabs.
To continue, click on the green Step 2 tab above.
About this Answer to a Complaint
This interview is best for people with a consumer debt under $5,000. However, it is always best to find a lawyer - especially for debts over $10,000. If you can not find a lawyer before the deadline, use this program and find a lawyer later.
This program will NOT work for debts from:
- child support
- spousal support
- student loans
If you have not gotten a Complaint yet, do not use this program. Read the "Debt Collection and Garnishment" section on LawHelpMN instead.What if someone has already taken money from my wages or bank account?
When someone takes money from wages or a bank account because of debt, it is called "Garnishment" (or "levy").
If they are taking your money now, it means either:
- They are using a "pre-judgment" garnishment, OR
- They already won the case against you (they won a "judgment).
If it is a "pre-judgment garnishment," you can use this program, but you should also talk to a lawyer soon.
If they already won the case, and you didn't know you had been sued until they started taking money, this program can not help. Talk to a lawyer right away. A lawyer can say if there are any reasons a judge might let you re-open the case.
If they already won the case, and you knew you were being sued, this program can not help.
Read the Garnishment and Your Rights Fact Sheet.
To continue, click on the green Step 3 tab above.
What Do You Need Before You Start?
Before you start the interview, you need the Complaint you got from the plaintiff.
It may also help to have the following things:
- receipts related to this debt,
- bills you got from the debt collector,
- any contract you signed for this debt, and
- any other records or papers related to this debt.
These papers will help prove your case if you say you don't owe the debt.
To continue, click on the green Step 4 tab above.
This interview will only work on a desktop computer. If you only have a mobile device, go to a library or other location with a desktop computer and printer. If you are at a library, you can skip this step of instructions. Public computers already have these programs installed. If you are using your own computer, make sure your computer has the following:
1. Microsoft Word or Word Viewer
If you don't have Microsoft Word, you can use Word Viewer to view, copy, and print your forms (but it won't let you make changes.) Click here to get Word Viewer for free.
(Note: Microsoft Word Pad is not the same as Microsoft Word and will not work with this program.)
2. Adobe Flash Player
If you don't have Adobe Flash Player, click here to get the newest version for free.
To continue, click on the green Step 5 tab above.