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How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Colorado (2023 Guide)

George Simons | December 05, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: You have 21 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Colorado, and you must pay a fee ranging from $80-$192 to file your Answer document in the court. Use SoloSuit to draft and file your Answer in just 15 minutes.

“Man, I can't wait for this collector to sue me!” — said no one ever.

Nobody likes getting sued for a debt. This article makes the process of responding to a debt lawsuit a little bit easier and tells you how to Answer a Summons for debt collection in Colorado.

Below, you'll find helpful topics on how to Answer a debt collection lawsuit in Colorado. This list includes information specific to filing in Colorado, like state deadlines, forms, and filing fees.

Let's jump right in.

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Respond to the lawsuit before the Colorado deadline

Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 12(a)(1) states:

“A defendant shall file his answer or other response within 21 days after the service of the summons and complaint.”

In other words, you have 21 days to file an Answer to a debt collection lawsuit in Colorado. The clock starts ticking after you have officially received the court documents notifying you of the lawsuit, also known as the Summons and Complaint.

If you don't respond to the lawsuit within the deadline, you run the risk of having a default judgment ordered against you. With a default judgment granted, debt collectors can garnish your wages and seize your property.

This is why it's so important to respond to debt collection lawsuits before the deadline.

Colorado Answer to Summons Forms

The easiest and fastest way to draft a response to a debt collection lawsuit is this Answer form. SoloSuit walks you through the process of drafting your Answer in minutes. All you have to do is respond to a few questions about the case.

Here's a sample of SoloSuit's Answer form.

If you would rather draft your own Answer, you can fill out the Colorado Answer form instead. This process might be a little less straightforward, but there are tools on Colorado's judicial branch website that can walk you through it.

Colorado charges a fee to file your Answer

Some states charge an Answer filing fee, and Colorado is one of them.

Unfortunately, you must pay a filing fee in Colorado for the court to accept your Answer and file it into the case records. If you try to send your Answer without paying the fee, the court will simply reject it.

Here are Colorado's civil filing fees:

  • The Answer filing fee is $80 if your case involves less than $1,000.
  • The Answer filing fee is $100 if your case involves $1,000-$14,999.99.
  • The Answer filing fee is $130 if your case involves $15,000-$25,000.
  • The Answer filing fee is $192 if your case involves more than $25,000.

If you cannot afford to pay the Answer filing fee, you can request that the court waive your fees by filing a JDF 202 form.

Follow these steps to respond to a debt collection case in Colorado

To begin the lawsuit, the debt collector (known as the “plaintiff”) will serve you with two documents either by mail or in person. These documents are called the Summons and Complaint. The Summons notifies you of the case, while the Complaint lists the specific allegations being made against you.

In Colorado, you have only 21 days to respond by filing an Answer document. Here are three steps to help you draft your Answer and respond to the Complaint:

  1. Answer each allegation listed in the Complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer document with the court and send a copy of it to the plaintiff.

Let's check out each step. Don't like reading? Watch this video instead:

1. Answer each issue of the Complaint.

Answering the complaint can be scary, but with these instructions, it will be simple.

The first section of your Answer should focus on responding to the allegations outlined in the Complaint document. Find the numbered list of allegations in the Complaint and then decide how you want to respond to each one. You should list your responses in a corresponding, numbered list.

You can answer each allegation in one of three ways:

  • Admit: this is like saying, “This is true.”
  • Deny: this is like saying, “Prove it.”
  • Deny due to lack of knowledge: this is like saying, “I don't know.”

Many attorneys recommend making a general denial, where you deny everything in the Complaint and force the other side to prove everything. You can use SoloSuit's Answer form to respond in minutes or Colorado's form, following its instructions.

2. Assert your affirmative defenses.

After you've responded to each allegation, you're ready to move on to the next section of your Answer document: where you assert your affirmative defenses.

An “affirmative defense” is a reason why the person suing doesn't have a case.

More specifically, Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(c) states:

“In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense. Any mitigating circumstances to reduce the amount of damage shall be affirmatively pleaded.”

This is the fancy, legal way to say that if there is any reason the debt collector or creditor suing you shouldn't win, you must affirmatively state it in your Answer document. Here are some common affirmative defenses used in debt collection cases:

  • 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.

You should note that not being able to pay the debt is not a valid affirmative defense.

As you can see from the Rule 8(c) cited above, there is a technical way to state your affirmative defenses in your Answer. SoloSuit can help you include your affirmative defenses with the right legal jargon.

Make the right affirmative defense the right way with SoloSuit.

3. File the Answer with the court and send a copy to the plaintiff.

Believe it or not, a lot of people get this far and then never actually file their Answer. Don't be one of those people.

Here's what you need to do to properly file your Answer:

  • Print two copies of your Answer.
  • Mail one copy to the court.
  • Mail the other copy to the plaintiff's attorney (also known as the attorney representing the person or company that is suing you).

The address for both should be in the Summons and Complaint you received in the mail. Remember, you have 21 days to file your Answer.

SoloSuit can file your Answer for you in all 50 states.

What is SoloSuit?

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. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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 by formally requesting a debt validation. The Debt Validation Letter notifies the collector that you dispute the debt and requires them to provide proof that 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.

Debt Collection Lawsuit Flowchart

Get started with a Debt Validation Letter here.

Check the statute of limitations on debt in Colorado

Before you agree to make any payments to a debt collector, you should check the statute of limitations on your debt first.

The statute of limitations is the time limit that a debt collector or creditor has to sue someone for a debt they owe. The statute of limitations clock starts to run on the date of your last payment on an account. This means that if a debt collector reaches out about an old debt, and you start making payments on the account, the clock will restart on the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is different in every state. According to Colorado law, CO Rev Stat § 13-80-101 states:

“(1) The following civil actions, regardless of the theory upon which suit is brought, or against whom suit is brought, shall be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrues, and not thereafter:

(a) All contract actions, including personal contracts and actions under the "Uniform Commercial Code", except as otherwise provided in section 13-80-103.5.”

This means that Colorado debt collectors only have three years to sue you for a credit card debt.

Similarly, CO Rev Stat § 13-80-103.5 states:

“(1) The following actions shall be commenced within six years after the cause of action accrues and not thereafter:

(a) All actions to recover a liquidated debt or an unliquidated, determinable amount of

money due to the person bringing the action, all actions for the enforcement of rights set forth in any instrument securing the payment of or evidencing any debt, and all actions of replevin to recover the possession of personal property encumbered under any instrument securing any debt; except that actions to recover pursuant to section 38-35-124.5 (3), C.R.S., shall be commenced within one year;

(b) All actions for arrears of rent;”

This means you cannot be sued for rental debt debt that is more than six years old.

The table below outlines Colorado's statute of limitations on different types of debt:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Colorado

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 6 years
Medical 6 years
Student Loan 6 years
Auto Loan 6 years
Mortgage 6 years
Personal Loan 6 years
Judgment 6 or 20 years
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-103.5

Utilize Colorado legal aid organizations

Hiring an attorney can be tricky and expensive. Luckily, the state of Colorado has several legal aid organizations that can help people who cannot or do not want to hire a lawyer and are representing themselves. Here are some of the prominent legal aid organizations in Colorado:

Colorado court locations

If you don't feel comfortable sending your court documents over e-file, you can always visit your courthouse and file in person. Use this Colorado Courts Directory tool to find the address of your courthouse. Just click on the county where you live, and a new page will open where you can scroll to the bottom to find the courthouse address.

Knowing where your courthouse is located can help you be better prepared for your trial and stay updated on your case status.

Key Takeaways

So, in short, here's the review on how to Answer a Summons for debt collection in Colorado.

  • The deadline to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Colorado is 21 days.
  • Use SoloSuit's Answer form to draft your response.
  • Colorado courts charge an Answer filing fee that ranges from $80-$192, depending on the type of case.
  • You can draft your own Answer with SoloSuit where you respond to each allegation against you and assert your affirmative defenses.
  • File the Answer in the court before the deadline, and send a copy to the opposing attorney.
  • The statute of limitations on credit card debt is three years in Colorado.

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