Summary: Need more time to prepare for your debt collection lawsuit? Learn how to file a motion to extend time.
It's normal to panic when served with a debt collection lawsuit. However, did you know that you can file a motion to extend the time to answer the summons and complaint from the plaintiff? Read on for more details.
The process of filing a motion to extend time is straightforward, and in many counties, all you need to do is fill out a form and submit it to the court clerk. Below is a detailed procedure for filing a motion to extend time.
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Request the plaintiff to agree to the extension
You can request the creditor or debt collector to give you more time to file your answer to the court. If they agree, you should put the agreement in writing. The agreement is called a stipulation, and it contains the following:
- name of the case;
- case number;
- a statement acknowledging that both parties agree to the extension;
- the new deadline.
Request the court for an extension
If the plaintiff doesn't agree to the extension, you can go ahead and request the court to grant you an extension by filing a motion to extend time.
To do this, submit an affidavit requesting an extension. Ensure the affidavit has the name of the case and the case number at the top. In addition, the affidavit should contain the following:
- reason(s) for requesting more time to file an answer;
- the defendant's response when you asked them to grant you an extension;
- a statement that the complaint is not a motion for summary judgment in lieu of a complaint;
- whether or not you have previously asked the court for an extension in the same case. If so, you have to explain what happened.
Besides the affidavit, you'll need to submit a proposed order the judge in charge of the case could sign to grant you the extension. Afterward, you'll then submit the completed affidavit and proposed order to the court clerk's office.
Alternatively, you can use SoloSuit to file the paperwork on your behalf in three simple steps.
If the court grants the motion, the judge in charge of the case will sign the proposed order and serve a copy to parties involved, either directly or through their attorneys.
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Should you file a motion to extend time?
Filing a motion to extend time allows you to hire a lawyer if you don't have one to help you file a proper answer. If you don't need legal representation, filing an extension of time motion gives you time to raise all possible defenses and counterclaims.
How much does it cost to file a motion to extend time?
Most states have no fee for filing a motion and order to extend the time to answer a collection lawsuit. For this reason, you can go ahead and file an extension in your collection lawsuit and then try to negotiate a settlement with the creditor.
Given that settlement negotiations take longer than usual, you're required to file an answer to the court. Therefore, filing for an extension of time is a good idea if you don't want to miss the deadline to respond to the court and risk losing by default.
Do you need a lawyer to file a motion to extend time?
You don't need a lawyer to file an extension of time motion. You can file legal forms such as motions and answers without the help of a lawyer as long as you support your motion with facts. Even so, it's a good idea to consult a lawyer before filing a motion. An attorney ensures your motion to extend time meets all legal requirements, avoiding unnecessary delays and possible rejections.
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Can you file a second motion to extend time to answer a lawsuit?
If the judge grants the first motion and you feel like you need more time to prepare your answer to the court, you can go ahead and file for a second extension of time. However, most states don't allow multiple extensions. So depending on the state, your second motion to extend time may not be granted.
When you find yourself in such a situation, the best thing to do is file an answer to the court then file a motion to amend the answer. By doing this, you avoid the risk of entering a default judgment because the judge denied you a second extension of time to answer a lawsuit.
Can a motion to extend time be denied?
Even though most motions to extend time are granted the first time, it's not always a guarantee. For example, one of the main reasons a motion to extend time can be denied is if it wasn't filed on time, as required by the court's standing order.
For instance, if you file a motion to extend time after the deadline to file an answer to the court has elapsed, the judge may deny the motion and enter a default judgment against you.
Can you file a motion to extend if you missed the deadline to answer a lawsuit?
If the stipulated time to file an answer to the court has elapsed, you, by default, miss the deadline to request an extension of time to answer a lawsuit. Even so, you can still file an answer to the court if there's no entry of default entered by the court clerk.
That being said, it's not advisable to miss the deadline to file an answer to the court. Suppose you miss the deadline to file an answer to the court, and a default judgment is entered against you. In that case, you can ask your lawyer to file a motion to set aside an entry of default or default judgment to prevent the plaintiff from automatically winning the case.
Understandably, you may not know where to start with filing a motion to extend time, especially when you have tight deadlines to beat. However, missing a deadline comes with serious consequences when filing court paperwork. For this reason, it's advisable to use legal help software like SoloSuit to save time, energy, and money!
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
>>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
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