How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Florida (2021 Guide)

George Simons

September 10, 2021



“I heart debt lawsuits!” — said no one ever.

Getting sued for a debt is terrible. 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 Florida.

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

Not sued yet? Try this fight collectors.

Florida Deadline for Answering a Debt Collection Summons

20 days - Count twenty days starting with the day after you are served, and count every day, including Saturdays and Sundays.

Florida Answer to Summons Forms

Use this Answer Form to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Florida. SoloSuit's form is created by professional attorney's and has protected over $100 million from predatory debt lawsuits.

Florida courts don't provide any accessible forms of their own.

Steps to Respond to a Debt Collection Case in Florida

All lawsuits formally start the same way: you get two documents in the mail or via personal delivery. These documents are called the Summons and Complaint. In Florida, you have only 20 days to respond by filing an Answer. You can respond with either an Answer document or a Motion; usually, you'll want to respond with an Answer document.

If you don't respond within the 20 day period, you will automatically lose your case by default judgment.

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.

Many people are intimidated by making an Answer document. And that's ok. 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

SoloSuit helps you know how to respond.

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 Florida. The Florida Answer form is fairly bare-bones. Many attorneys recommend making a general denial, where you deny everything in the complaint and force the other side to prove everything.

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.

SoloSuit makes it easy to make the right defense.

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

You can just write these in on the Florida answer sheet.

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

Actually filing the answer is tough. Some people get hung up here, but most preserver and file the answer.

Here's what you need to do.

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

SoloSuit has an attorney review your response and files for you.

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.

What If I Haven't Been Sued Yet?

If you've only received a collections notice, but not a lawsuit, the best way to respond is with a Debt Validation Letter. When a debt collector contacts you in any way, whether it's by phone or mail, you can respond with a Debt Validaiton Letter. This letter notifies the collector that you dispute the debt and requires they provide proof you owe the debt. They can't call you or continue collecting until they provide validation of the debt. This flowchart shows how you can use a Debt Validation Letter to win.

Learn more about the Debt Validation Letter here.

How to win a debt collection lawsuit flowchart. Litigation Flowchart.

Get started with a Debt Validation Letter here.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in California.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and their attorney and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit and their services so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it Washington well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James

Start My Answer

Not sued yet? Use our Debt Validation Letter instead.


Takeaways on How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Florida

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

  • Deadline: 20 days
  • Use Florida's Answer form

Do these steps:

  1. Answer each issue in the complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses
  3. File and serve the Answer

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in your State

Here's a list of guides for most of the 50 states.

All 50 states.

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Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

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