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

Hannah Locklear | December 30, 2023

Fact-checked by George Simons, J.D.

Summary: If you're being sued for a debt in Kentucky, you have 20 days to respond before you lose by default. You should respond to the lawsuit with a written Answer where you reply to each allegation listed in the Complaint and assert your affirmative defenses. You can use SoloSuit's Answer form to draft your response in just 15 minutes.

Receiving a Kentucky Civil Summons for a debt is a bummer, but you're not alone. According to the Urban Institute, 32% of Kentuckians have debt in collections, which is well above the national average of 26%.

If you feel like chucking your Kentucky summons in the trash, hold up a minute. The best way to give yourself a fighting chance in court isn't to ignore your Summons but to take action and respond. Even though you have debt, you still have rights under Kentucky debt collection laws, and you could see many positive outcomes in court, including not having to pay your debt at all.

Want to make the response process a little easier? SoloSuit can help you create an Answer to your Kentucky Summons and Complaint, have it reviewed by an attorney, and file it.

The best part? It takes just 15 minutes.

Before we get into the details of answering your Summons and Complaint, let's make sure you fully understand a Civil Summons in KY and how it works.

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What is a Civil Summons in KY?

A civil case is a type of legal case that handles legal actions between private individuals, whereas criminal cases handle cases in which a crime has been committed. Therefore, all debt lawsuits are considered civil cases because no crime has been committed.

Kentucky Civil Summons is an official form used to notify a party that legal action has been taken against them. This document is usually accompanied by a Complaint document, which lists the specific claims being made in the lawsuit.

The Summons form includes information such as:

  • The plaintiff's name
  • The defendant's name
  • The title and case file number
  • The court to hear the case
  • The attorneys' names
  • Instructions on how to respond to the Complaint

You're probably wondering, “What is a plaintiff? What is a defendant?” Well, the plaintiff is the person or company who initiated the lawsuit and is suing someone else. The defendant, on the other hand, is the person being sued. So, if you are being sued for a debt you owe, you are the defendant in your case.

Both the plaintiff and defendant must follow the Kentucky civil rules for their case to be valid. For example, the plaintiff must file paperwork indicating they served the defendant with the suit, while the defendant must respond to the suit within the deadline determined by the state.

So, how long do you have to answer your Civil Summons in KY, and how do you go about it? Below, we break it down for you.

Respond to a Kentucky Summons for debt collection before the deadline

In Kentucky, you have 20 days after receiving a Summons and Complaint to file an Answer under Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure 12.01. More specifically, the law states:

“A defendant shall serve his/her answer within 20 days after service of the summons upon him/her.”

Learning that you are being sued can be intimidating, and many people react by wanting to bury their heads in the sand. However, once you have been served a Summons or Complaint, you have no choice but to address the issue.

If you aren't sure whether you've received a Kentucky Civil Summons, here's what it could look like.

We can't stress enough how important it is to respond before the deadline. If you miss it, you automatically lose your case. After 20 days, the creditor or debt collector can request a default judgment against you, and the court will most likely grant it. With a default judgment, they can garnish your wages or put liens on your properties.

Even if there is an error in your debt collection Summons and Complaint, don't ignore it. Regardless of the reason you failed to meet the deadline, you'll have to pay the debt stated in the Complaint if you don't file an Answer. When you respond within the 20-day deadline, there's a great chance you could win your case.

Let's take a look at an example.

Example: Fred and Jane owe approximately $5,000 in debt to the same company. As a coincidence, they are served on the same day. Jane immediately takes action and uses SoloSuit to draft and file her Answer. Fred chooses to ignore the Summons because he doesn't know what else to do. Jane then discovers that her original debt was only $2,900 and that other information in the lawsuit is incorrect. She ends up settling her debt for $2,000 on a payment plan. Unfortunately, the same mistakes were made with Fred's account. However, since he never filed an Answer, the debtor is able to get a default judgment against Fred for the full $5,000.

Use a Kentucky Answer to Summons form

The fastest way to create an Answer to a Summons and Complaint is to use SoloSuit's Answer form. To fill out the form, you just respond to a series of questions about your case, and you'll have a completed Answer in under 15 minutes.

If you'd rather create an Answer on your own, here is a general Kentucky Answer form you can use to respond. The basic format of Kentucky's form is pretty similar to SoloSuit, but you just have to fill in all the blanks on your own instead. You can always fill this form out by yourself, but using SoloSuit's form makes it easier to respond with the proper legal language and wording.

Kentucky does not charge a fee to file an Answer

Woohoo! There are no fees to file an Answer to a Complaint against you in the state of Kentucky. However, if you plan to file other types of documents into a lawsuit, there may be filing fees involved.

Click here to learn more about Kentucky's civil filing fees.

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

When a creditor files a debt collection lawsuit against you in Kentucky, they will serve you with a Summons and Complaint. It may arrive in person or by mail, delivered by a sheriff, constable, or court-appointed special bailiff.

Before you start drafting your Answer, go through your Kentucky Summons and Complaint to ensure you have the information you'll need. These documents should contain the following, which you will need to draft your Answer document:

  • Defendant's first and last name (that's you)
  • Plaintiff's name (the creditor or debt collector suing you)
  • Plaintiff's attorney information
  • Physical address of both parties
  • Court information, including which division the case is in and the court's address
  • Case number
  • Debt amount

Make sure to include all this information at the top of your Answer document. This is known as “styling,” and it is standard legal practice for this document. Double-check that you accurately included all the information. Then you can start working on your Answer.

Once you've reviewed the Summons and Complaint, follow these three steps to respond to the debt collection lawsuit:

  1. Answer each allegation mentioned in the Complaint.
  2. Include affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer with the court and send a copy to the plaintiff's attorney.

We know there's a lot of legal jargon in here. Don't worry. We'll explain the process in detail below. Don't like reading? Check out this video instead:

If you're concerned about completing the process correctly, that's totally normal. SoloSuit is here to make responding to a debt lawsuit easier and to help you get it right.

1. Answer each allegation mentioned in the Complaint

In case you're feeling overwhelmed by the legal terms, an Answer is simply a response to the allegations listed in the Complaint document. When you look at the Complaint, you can identify the allegations because they show up as a list of numbered paragraphs.

The first section of your Answer document should include a list of responses that correspond with the numbered allegations from the Complaint. Generally, you need to enter a response for each allegation. You can answer in one of three ways:

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

It's best to respond to each allegation individually, because if you leave any unanswered, the court will consider it an admission.

Most attorneys recommend that you deny as many allegations as possible. At this stage of the lawsuit, the burden of proof is not on you. So when you deny a claim, the plaintiff has to do more work to prove that it is true. If they don't have the proper documentation or evidence to prove their claims, they might choose to dismiss the case instead.

SoloSuit helps you respond with the right language.

As you're responding to allegations, keep in mind that Kentucky allows you to amend your Answer, but it must be in good faith (for an honest and legitimate reason). According to Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure 15.01, you can amend your Answer within the first 20 days after receiving the Kentucky Civil Summons and Complaint. If 20 days have already passed, you can request for a written permission from the plaintiff OR permission from the court (also known as “leave of court”) to amend.

Because amending a response means more work and stress for you, it's best to read through the allegations slowly and provide answers you feel are truthful and accurate the first time.

2. Include affirmative defenses

The next section of your Answer should be where you state your affirmative defenses.

Affirmative defenses are an essential part of your Answer because they provide reasons the collector should lose the case. There is a wide range of defenses, but only some will apply in a debt collection case.

Here is a list of common affirmative defenses to use in a debt lawsuit:

  • Expired statute of limitations: The statute of limitations is the time limit that a creditor or debt collector can sue someone for a debt. The Kentucky statute of limitations on debt collection is 10 years after the date of your last payment. So, if you haven't made any payments on your account in 10 or more years, it has already passed the statute of limitations. This means that your creditor does not have the legal right to sue you. If this affirmative defense applies to your debt, use it.
  • Incorrect debt amount listed: Use this affirmative defense if the amount of debt in the Kentucky Civil Summons and Complaint is incorrect, whether due to a creditor's error or you having paid the debt already.
  • Canceled contract: Use this affirmative defense if you had a contract with the creditor but canceled it, and they are still charging you for a debt you don't owe.
  • Stolen or mistaken identity: If a creditor is suing you for a debt that isn't yours—for example, you share a name with someone, and it is their debt—you should use the mistaken identity affirmative defense. Secondly, the debt could be in your name, but you did not apply for, receive, or use the credit card. If this is the case, use identity theft as an affirmative defense.
  • No relationship to the debtor or creditor: If the original creditor sold your debt to a collection agency, use this affirmative defense. The collection agency has to give proof that they purchased your debt from the initial creditor to continue with the lawsuit.

SoloSuit can help you make the right affirmative defenses.

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

Now that your Answer is complete, all that's left is to file it with the court and send a copy to the plaintiff's lawyer. This step is incredibly important. If your Answer isn't received by both parties by the deadline, a default judgment could be entered and you may have to pay the debt in full.

To file your answer on your own, follow these three steps:

  1. Make two copies of your Answer.
  2. Mail one copy to the court.
  3. Mail one copy to the plaintiff's attorney.

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

Be careful about getting the mailing address of the court right, sometimes the address may not be clear on your Kentucky Summons. In fact, the mailing address of your court may even be different from the physical address of the courthouse.

It's an excellent idea to spend the extra bucks and send your Answer via USPS Certified Mail. Make sure to request a confirmation receipt and make copies of everything so you have proof that your Answer arrived.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Statute of limitations on debt in Kentucky

The Kentucky statute of limitations on debt collections is 10 years in most cases. After 10 years, the creditor no longer has the legal grounds to to sue you. Once the statute of limitations expires, your debt should also be removed from your credit report. If, on the other hand, you have medical debt, under Kentucky medical debt collection laws there is usually a written contract, which means you could be looking at a 15-year statute of limitations.

Unfortunately, the statute of limitations won't stop creditors and debt collectors from suing you. They're counting on you being ignorant. Think about it; most people have never even heard of the statute of limitations, and they're hoping you fall under this umbrella. This is why you should always check the statute of limitations on your debt before responding to your case.

Remember, when you make payments on a debt account, it restarts the clock on the statute of limitations. So, when a debt collector contacts you, investigate the debt before handing over your money. If you don't, you might end up paying for a debt that is no longer valid.

The table below lists Kentucky's statutes of limitations on different types of debt:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Kentucky

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 10 years
Medical 10 years
Student Loan 10 years
Auto Loan 10 years
Mortgage 10 years
Personal Loan 10 years
Judgment 15 years
Source: Ky. Rev. Stat. § 413.090 and § 413.160

Utilize Kentucky legal aid organizations

Like all U.S. states, the state of Kentucky has several government-funded organizations that offer free legal services to state residents.

Here are the existing organizations in Kentucky and their contact information:

Find your Kentucky court locations

In some cases, the court address may not be clear on your Kentucky Summons. In that case, you can use the Kentucky Justice Court website to find the address of the court you are looking for. Just use the dropdown menu under "About the Courts" to select your court jurisdiction, then use the dropdown menu under counties to select the county in which you live. Keep in mind that the mailing address and the physical address are sometimes different. To make things easy, you can let SoloSuit file for you.

If you are completing this process on your own and need help, you can contact the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts (Kentucky AOC) here.

Ready to respond to your Kentucky Civil Summons

Answering your KY Civil Summons does not have to be an arduous task or a time-consuming ordeal affair. SoloSuit can alleviate the stress of going through this process by using our professionally drafted Answer.

If you do not want your case to be heard in court, SoloSuit's Motion to Compel Arbitration can help you request the creditor to settle out of court. Watch this video on how to navigate through our SoloSuit App.

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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