George Simons | October 19, 2022
Summary: Sued for a debt in Florida? Use SoloSuit to respond in 15 minutes.
“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.
In Florida, the deadline to respond to a debt Summons and Complaint is just 20 days. That's 20 days starting from the day after you are served, including Saturdays and Sundays.
For example, Jenny is being sued in Florida for a credit card debt. She is served the court Summons and Complaint on March 11, 2022 (Friday). That means she has until March 31, 2022 (Thursday) to submit her written response. Jenny files her Answer with the court on March 31, the last day within the deadline, and it is accepted.
Keep in mind that many courts are generous regarding deadlines, specifically when the defendant (or the person being sued) is not represented by an attorney. So, if you are responding pro se (without a lawyer), the court might give you a little extra leeway to respond.
Florida has many resources for defendants who are representing themselves in a credit card debt lawsuit. Most courts even have forms you can fill out to respond to the suit.
If you aren't sure how to fill out the form, SoloSuit can help. You can fill out a free Answer in a matter of minutes by answering a few simple questions on SoloSuit's site. SoloSuit's form is created by professional attorney's and has protected consumers from losing over $100 million in predatory debt lawsuits.
Here's an example of one of SoloSuit's Answer forms:
If you've been sued for debt, especially credit card debt, you should respond to the court Summons and Complaint immediately. You might think you need to hire an attorney to do so, but you can actually represent yourself and save lots of money and time.
You don't need an attorney to help you draft and file your written Answer. In fact, with resources like SoloSuit, you can draft a free Answer in less than 10 minutes. SoloSuit can also file the Answer in the court on your behalf, and for a small fee, have an attorney review your court documents before sending them off.
Finding an attorney can be extremely time-consuming and challenging, and it might end up costing more than the debt you owe. Save yourself the stress and money by representing yourself with SoloSuit's help.
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 Summons and Complaint.
Let's take a look at each step.
Many people are intimidated by making an Answer document. And that's ok. These instructions keep it simple. Just read the Complaint and then decide how you want to respond to each numbered paragraph. Avoid giving long Answers that over-explain your side of the story. You should respond in one of three ways:
Most attorneys recommend making a general denial, where you deny everything in the complaint and force the other side to prove everything. Just choose one of these answers and write it into your Answer. If you choose “disagree” you can explain why you disagree.
To assert affirmative defenses, you simply state reasons why the person suing you has no case. This is where you get to give your side of the story. Some of the most common affirmative defenses we see are:
These are a few of the many affirmative defenses, but you should list them in legal jargon. SoloSuit makes it easy to do this. Keep in mind, being unable to pay the debt is not normally a legal defense to the debt.
Filing the Answer can be tricky. Courts have specific requirments for filing (i.e. original signature, certificate of service, etc.), and are notorious for rejecting Answers if they're not met. Here are some helpful hints for filing:
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.
SoloSuit's CEO explains these three steps further in this video:
It is a common practice for debt collection agencies to purchase debts from credit card companies. If a debt collection agency has contacted you about a debt you owe, you should do some investigating before sending them any money.
Before making any payments to a collection agency, you should check the statute of limitations on the debt. The staute of limitations is the time period in which a creditor or collection agency can file a lawsuit to recover the debt, and it varies depending on which state you live in.
If you make a payment on a debt that is past the statute of limitations, the clock is restarted, and the collection agency will have the legal right to take you to court of the debt again. For this reason, you should make sure your debt is valid before making any sort of payments on it.
Under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDPCA), debt collection agencies must validate a debt in writing within 5 days of contacting you about it. If they never validate the debt, you should send them a Debt Validation Letter before sending them any money. Many collection agencies give up after receiving such a letter, because it would cost them more time and resources to verify the debt.
If the collection agency cannot validate the debt, they must cease contact with you. In this case, you are not obligated to pay anything. Check out this article for more information on paying off your debt to a collections agency.
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.
Learn more about the Debt Validation Letter here or by watching this video:
This flowchart shows how you can use a Debt Validation Letter to win.
So, in short, here's the review on how to answer a summons for debt collection in Florida.
Follow these steps:
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.
"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!" – JamesStart My Answer
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
Here's a list of guides for most of the 50 states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.