How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection - The Ultimate 50 State Guide

George Simons

May 21, 2020



   

Don't just roll over and take it. Fight back. 

We want to help you win your debt collection lawsuit, not pay money that you don't owe, and protect your wages from garnishment. 

That's why we put together this guide for how to answer a summons for debt collection in all 50 states. 

Debt collection lawsuits are difficult to navigate, partly because the relevant laws change from state to state. So we've compiled the most relevant information for each all in one spot. Now you don't have to crawl your state courts' website looking for this information, because, trust me, it's a nightmare. 

For each state, we provide 

  • the Deadline for answering a debt collection summons for filing your answer to the summons and complaint 
  • the most relevant official answer form available in that state. 

Some states don't have answer forms so we've linked to other helpful forms and tidbits where we can. 

Also, we should mention this: SoloSuit can do all of this for you.

You Can Use SoloSuit to Generate Your Answer

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

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 I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was 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


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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance


Without further ado, this is how you answer a summons for debt collection in any of the 50 states (and the District of Columbia). 

Alabama

The Heart of the Dixie, we made an in-depth guide for you: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Alabama

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

Small Claims Court – 14 Days

District Court – 14 Days

Circuit Court – 30 Days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Defendant's Answer Form

Civil Forms

Small Claims Forms

E-file

SoloSuit

Alaska

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form

SoloSuit

Arizona

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days - if you were served in Arizona

30 days - if you were served outside of Arizona

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer (For lawsuits under $10k)

Answer (For lawsuits over $10k)

E-filng (Civil)

E-filing (Small claims)

SoloSuit

Arkansas

The home of Walmart. Here is your guide: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Arkansas.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Online Answer Form

SoloSuit

California

The Golden State, we made a guide for you too. How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in California.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days 

40 days if the documents were served on someone else in your household or they were mailed to you. 

Other exceptions

Answer to Complaint Forms

The General Denial Form

Answer Form

SoloSuit

Colorado

Vail is pretty good. So we made a guide for you too. How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Colorado

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

21 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form

SoloSuit

Connecticut

Ah, the Nutmeg State and the home of the Charter Oak. Few states have done as much as you for the independence of the country, so we made you a guide: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Connecticut.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days of the return date

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form (Civil Only)

Other Forms

SoloSuit

Delaware

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 Days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form

Other Forms

SoloSuit

District of Columbia

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

21 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form

Other Forms

SoloSuit

Florida

The Sunshine State, here is your guide. How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in FL.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer to Complaint Sample Form

SoloSuit

Georgia

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 Days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Online Debt Collection Guide

SoloSuit

Hawai'i

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Other Forms

SoloSuit

Idaho

Idaho is one of the best kept secrets in the US. So we made a guide for you. So many hot springs. How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Idaho.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Small claims Answer Form (It's form fillable!)

Civil Answer Form

Helpful brochure

SoloSuit

Illinois

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

Appear in court, then you have 10 days to file an answer.

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer/Response to Complaint/Petition

More Forms

SoloSuit

Indiana

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days (with exceptions)

Answer to Complaint Forms

United States District Courts Southern District of Indiana Answer Form

E-file

More Forms

SoloSuit

Iowa

Answer to Complaint Forms

How to Respond

E-file

Other Forms

Kansas

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

21 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Defendant's Claim (Small Claims)

Answer Form

Other Forms

SoloSuit

Kentucky

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Counterclaim

SoloSuit

Louisiana

Can somebody please send us some beignets? We love them so much, we made a guide for your state. How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Louisiana.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

15 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Maine

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Maryland

This process is a little different in Maryland. Please take a look at this guide: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Maryland.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summonss

Served in Maryland - 30 days

Served in another state - 60 days

Served outside of the United States - 90 days 

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Massachusetts

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Instructions for writing an answer

Online Answer Form

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Even More Forms!

Michigan

The Land of the Great Lakes. Here is your guide: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Michigan.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

21 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer (Civil)

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Fees

No fee

Minnesota

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form (Civil)

SoloSuit

Response to Conciliation (Small Claims)

Mississippi

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Missouri

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Montana

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

21 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

No answer form for small claims

District Court Answer Form 

SoloSuit

Counterclaim

Nevada

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answe Form for Washoe County

SoloSuit

Other Forms

New Hampshire

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

New Jersey

Can we get some pork rolls please? They're so good, so we made you this guide: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in New Jersey.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

35 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

New Mexico

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms 

New York

The Big Apple, we got a guide for you. How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in New York.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days - if served personally (documents were handed to you by another person)

30 days - served in any other way

Answer to Complaint Forms

NYC Answer Form

Answer for Consumer Credit Transaction

SoloSuit

E-file

North Carolina

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

North Dakota

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days (small claims)

21 days (civil)

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form (Small Claims)

Answer Form (Civil)

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Ohio

You folks made the airplane. And we made you a guide on How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Ohio.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

28 days (with exceptions)

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms (For Ashtabula County)

Oklahoma

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Oregon

Keep Portland Weird. Here is the guide for your state: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Oregon.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

14 days – if you are sued in small claims court

Answer to Complaint Forms

Defendant's Response Form

Defendant's Response

SoloSuit

Consumer complaint form

Other Forms

Can eFile 

Fees

$55

Helpful links

What to do if you're sued by a creditor

Pennsylvania

Mining coal is hard work. So we made a guide for your state: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Pennsylvania.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days (If you don't respond in that period, the person suing you must send you a letter saying that in 10 days they will request a default judgment.)

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Rhode Island

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form (Small Claims)

SoloSuit

Other Forms

South Carolina

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Civil Answer Form

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Tennessee

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

State Court: 30 days

Federal Court: 20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Texas

Will give free Answers in exchange for brisket. How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in texas

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

This one is complicated. Generally, you have 20 days plus until the following Monday, at 10 am to file an Answer. Count all the calendar days including weekends and holidays. 

Answer to Complaint Forms

Defendant's Answer

Online Guided Defendant's Answer

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Fees

Free

Utah

We love Utahns. It's where SoloSuit was born. Check out our in-depth guide on How to Respond to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

 21 days – if served in Utah 

30 days – if served outside of Utah

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form

SoloSuit.com  

Vermont

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

30 days of the date the Complaint was mailed

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form (Small Claims)

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Virginia

This process is different in Virgina. Read up on it here: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Virginia.

Deadline for answering a debt collection summonss

21 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Other forms

Washington

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Online form

SoloSuit

West Virginia

Deadline for answering a debt collection summonss

21 days

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer Form

Other Forms

Wisconsin

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days (45 days for some torts)

Answer to Complaint Forms

Answer and Counterclaim (Small Claims) (Summary)

SoloSuit

More forms

Wyoming

Deadline for answering a debt collection summons

20 days – if served in the state

30 days – if served outside of the state 

Answer to Complaint Forms

SoloSuit

Other Forms

Respond with SoloSuit

"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" – Heather


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