What do I do when I have been served a summons

Submitted by dawnwilson22 on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 19:15

Today I was served a summons. It says:

You have been sued by the above-named plaintif, and you are directed to file a written answer to the attatched petition in the office of the court clerk of ***** county located at, *********, within 35 days after service of this summons upon you exclusive of the day of service. Whitin the same time, a copy of your anser must be delivered or mailed to the attorney for the plaintiff. Failure to respond, in writin, within 35 days will result in a default judgment being entered against you.

No request will be made to the court for a judgment in the case until the expiration of 35 days after your receipt of the petition and summons. If you dispute the debt and/or request the name and address of the original creditor in writing within the 35 day period that begins with the receipt of the petition and summons, all collection efforts, including our proceeding with this lawsuit, will cease until we respond as required by law.

What is an answer? In my answer can I ask them to validate this debt? I have no clue what to do, I have never been sued before. Any help would be appreciated... Thanks

lucee (not verified)

I was served today for a hospital bill i had no idea about. I had cancer last year so a lot of bill piled up..How do i go about answering the summons-I just want to pay it in payments..

Tue, 03/16/2010 - 21:23 Permalink

Hi James:

You can go to the court where the judgment was filed an inquire about this. You have time still.


As you are not sure about the debt, you can go to the court and check into the details of this debt. As the case on this bill has been filed, the court will have all the details of the bill. Then, if you think that you really owe this bill you can answer to the summons. However, if you doesn't owe the bill, you can file a motion to dismiss the summons.

Hope this helps.



Wed, 03/17/2010 - 09:23 Permalink
Terry D (not verified)

served my exwife a summmons on march 10 and it gave her 20 days to reply that would be on the 30th. What will happen if she doesnt respond to this? Will all me and my lawyer have to do is go in and talk to the judge and tell him that she didnt respond.. What I'm trying to do is get her for contemp of court because she didnt give me the kids for the summer like our div. says and also trying to get custoy of my kids from her..... please help Terry

Sun, 03/28/2010 - 21:53 Permalink

She will be sent a notice to show up in court, if she fails to appear they will more than likely send a warrant for her arrest.

As far as the contempt, the judge will have many options, the judge may decide to have the visit made up and that will be the extent of it. Do you have regular visitation?

We are going through a custody battle with a grandparent right now and we have been in contempt before, the judge just made us make up the visits. He had many options though, it could have been a lot worse. Depends on your state and what the local rules are. You can ask your attorney what the penalties are.

Mon, 03/29/2010 - 00:35 Permalink

wondering how long does it usually take for CAs to bring uncollected bills to file a summon against me?

Mon, 03/29/2010 - 03:56 Permalink

Hi Simon,

Welcome to this community :)

There is no definite time as to when a collection agency may sue you. This depends on the collection agency itself. However, whether or not they can sue you depends upon the Statute of Limitations (SOL). SOL is the time limit from the date of first delinquency, within which a collection agency can sue you for not paying the dues. SOL varies according to the state and the type of account.

Hope this helps.



Mon, 03/29/2010 - 10:34 Permalink
sarahfolsom (not verified)

how do i establish a online payment account

Thu, 04/08/2010 - 21:22 Permalink

Hi Sarahfolsom,

To establish an on-line payment account, you will have to visit the company's website. There you will get the option to sign-up for on-line payments. After you register there, you can use the payment account to make the online payments.



Fri, 04/09/2010 - 10:17 Permalink

Any and all summons should NEVER be ingnored!

#1 Make sure the debt is in fact yours
#2 Deny, Deny, Deny (Don't Lie) Just Deny
#3 File a motion to vacate the Judgement

The more you ignore them the more negative impact it will have on your credit rating....It takes patience and persistence

Good Luck you can do it!

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 18:30 Permalink
Janice (not verified)

I need advice. I received summons 2 weeks ago and have only this week to return letter of rersponse. I entered into the care one program 6 months ago withthe assumption all would be well with their assistance. The collection calls stoped but the legal docs keep rolling in. I can't ever get a return call from my so called attorney on the case! Should I take matters onto myself in order to get this response returned by the deadline? First time .. and advice is badly needed

Mon, 05/10/2010 - 12:52 Permalink
Linda west (not verified)

I received a summons from Chase for unsecured credit card charges. I have 30 days to file. I retained a bankruptcy atty and Chase legal dept in Los Angeles was faxed information from the atty that I was filing bankruptcy. Do I have to answer the court summons?

Mon, 05/10/2010 - 20:47 Permalink

Hi Janice:

Yes, you can handle these things yourself rather than paying extra money to others. As for the summons you should answer to that else the collection agency may win a default judgment against you.

Linda west:

Can you tell whether or not the bankruptcy has already been filed?



Wed, 05/12/2010 - 11:10 Permalink
waldo (not verified)

If you don't answer the summons and you have an attorney what can the party suing you do? Also what can they do if the jud=ge do not give them their jugment against you?

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 18:53 Permalink

Hi waldo,

If you don't answer to the summons, and don't appear in court on the stipulated date, the party suing you will win a default judgment against you, and you will be held in contempt of court. For that you may even have to stay in jail for a night or two.

Also what can they do if the jud=ge do not give them their jugment against you?

What they can do if the judge rules against them depends on the circumstances, and the judgment order.



Wed, 06/16/2010 - 11:20 Permalink
Soupy12 (not verified)

I owe the money $10,000. but they are asking for court fees and interst rates of 28% until paid. Should I answer response which will cost me $400 to file . I am unable to pay full amount as I am not working due to neurological problems but my husband is working parttime. What should I do?

Sun, 06/27/2010 - 07:40 Permalink
Noam (not verified)

Just got served a summons at home for unpaid credit card. Its in the amount of $930.
I know i owe the money and I want to pay it, in full or to help me, with payments.
Can I call the attorney of the creditor and try and work out a payment plan or just pay it with them? I just dont want to go to court, its money I owe and want to pay it.
Do I still need to go to court if I work out something with the creditors attorney?
What is the best thing for me to do, I dont want to go to court, I just want to pay them and be done....

Sat, 07/24/2010 - 19:55 Permalink
diana (not verified)

My mom received a summons for an unpaid balamce for Capitol One. She only receives social security benefits no other income. Should she still response? She is in California. She is unable to pay anything. What do you recommend? What is the form called if she needs to respond?

Sun, 07/25/2010 - 05:17 Permalink

Hi soupy:

If you have received a summons, you are required to answer to that, else the person suing you will be able to win a default judgment against you. You can try to gte the money from your other family members, or friends.


You can reach an out of court settlement with the creditor, but you will have to answer to the summons. And if the summons requires you to appear in court, I am afraid you will have to do that. Else, you can be held in contempt of court.


Yes, she should file the answer to the summons. As for the answers form you can request the court clerk to provide you with one, and help in filing the answer.



Wed, 07/28/2010 - 09:43 Permalink

I just got a summons. It is for medical bills for 110.00. now they want 578.00. I was going to pay the 110.00 this month and I only received 1 bill then the summons. How do I handle this?

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 04:17 Permalink

Hi misslilly,

Welcome to this community :)

Please let me know how old this bill is? Well, as you have received the summons, you should answer to tat for your own good, else the company suing you may win a default judgment against you.

As for the extra amount, late fees can get added depending on the terms of the service, and how late you have been. So, check the terms of the service for the late fees.



Wed, 08/04/2010 - 09:50 Permalink
carol chapman (not verified)

I had a judgement placed against me and the collecgtion co won. I was also told that the costs of this action be "taxed" against me. What does this mean? I cannot pay this until my property sells and I live in the state of NC. Help!

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 18:19 Permalink
bungie boy (not verified)

I have received a summons from a law firn delivered to me at my door at 6 :00 pm at night by the law firm blatt,hasenmiller,leibsker & moore
it says I owe 3500.oo which used to be $ 2000.oo
I have been out of work for almost a year and pretty much only doing mowing and cleaning some houses just to get by
I actually have no real job or real income etc
I really dont understand the summons, what i get from this is they are gona get a judge to say I really owe this bill
I still dont see how there going to get this money from me etc
and my credit is shot has been for over a year losing a job can make your life not wrth living sometimes etc
what can they do if i dont show up for the summons, i'm pretty sure they cant put me in jail
just confused
thanks robert

Wed, 10/27/2010 - 23:05 Permalink
chana (not verified)

received a summons (citation) from a representing firm to a credit card company I owe. There was a written agreement with this firm and my lawyer to pay a specified amount over a 6 month period to pay off this debt. This was done in August. I have paid 3 payments to date ...almost there. then I receive this summons. Should I respond to the summons

Sat, 11/13/2010 - 12:54 Permalink
So lost in CA. (not verified)

Hello, I just got a summons today to collect a debt, and I want to pay the debt off but I can't pay over 2000 what they're asking for. I want to give the right form for the court so they won't garnish my unemployment. This so awful but I've been laid off since February this year and I've been looking left and right for any job. I really need time to pay this debt off. I also have other huge credit debt I haven't even touched, I just can't afford it. I don't know what to do. I have a strict budget now, but I can't find that "written response" form. I'm from California, can someone help me? I've been to this website, but it's not much help :.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp

Mon, 11/15/2010 - 23:55 Permalink
somat (not verified)

when I held a debit card with a big bank they would garantee available money if I overdrew. I never kept record of this and before I knew it I was oweing several thousands and now I am oweing about 8k-10k. I don"t know if these includes penalties or just the overdrawn. This happened several years ago and I have not approched the problem but I think it will get worse before it gets better. Help.

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 20:48 Permalink
sin (not verified)

after anwering the summon letter should i still go to court, the credit card is suing me i told them my husband lost his job i have 4 kids and dont make enought to go on, bt will make payment once he find a job...is been 6months and still he cant find any. the summon letter will be here tomorrow.

Wed, 12/22/2010 - 21:49 Permalink
TERR (not verified)


Tue, 01/11/2011 - 09:22 Permalink
Mary J (not verified)

I was issued a civil summons on a credit card debt, my husband and I got a divorce and I dont work ... what do I need to do

Tue, 01/11/2011 - 14:18 Permalink
victoria (not verified)

I had a debt, I agreed to pay half of it, was paying it off with a lump sum and then monthly.
They were on the east coast.
I did this and then didn't hear from them and tried to call at least 10 times and nothing.
Now i get a summons for the whole amount ect from Seattle firm.
Id like to finish paying it off from the agreement i had.
what do I do?

Sat, 02/19/2011 - 19:53 Permalink
Melinda (not verified)

I have been issued a summons of disposessory, being evicted from my home. It says I have 7 days to file an answer. I knew this was coming but did not expect it so quick. I have children and need more time to find a place to go. Can I file an answer asking for more time even if I am not denying the debt? If so, how do I do this?

Wed, 02/23/2011 - 14:41 Permalink
lizzy (not verified)

I live in sc how and was served a summon from scavenger credit debt
my ex used my card and got 12,000.00 in cash i took him to court and he agreed to pay it off through the court but did not(2007). I work only part time make under $14,000 a year what should i do and how to file an answer and how to write a debt validation letter

Thu, 02/24/2011 - 03:30 Permalink
MissLisa (not verified)

Was just served. I was ecxpecting it.
I intend to file bankruptcy but to qualify with the means test I need one more month of clean bank statements therefore I need to stall at least a month or more if at all possible.

Do I answer the summons by going to the courthouse?
How do I answer the summons if I know the debt is mine but intend to file Bankruptcy?
Can I file a debt verification to stall another month which is all I need or will the court date be so far away it wouldn't matter?
When I finally file Chapter 7 will this summons then jsut get lumped into the judgement and dismissed when the BR is granted?


Thu, 03/03/2011 - 05:08 Permalink
dont know what to do (not verified)

I was given a paper with wage garnishment from a company i never heard of. Called the marshalls office and they could not give any information. Can i go to the court and file a order to show cause. it was for 4,000.oo

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 16:03 Permalink
Eugene Reeves (not verified)

If a credit card company gets a judgement against me, can they force me to sell my house? I live in California.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 16:34 Permalink
Cindy J (not verified)

I have already received the judgement order to pay for my debt to the Capital One credit card company. I did not reply to any of the summons. I am 66 yrs old and only live on Social Security money of a total amount of $910.00 a month. The reason I did not reply is because of not knowing what I could or could not do. I would assume they will be putting a lein against my bank account but I had this happen before and the judge overturned takeing any monies out of my account. Is there something I can do to stop them from taking the money out of my account at this point because I have a lot of automatic withdrawals and I would probably get charged insufficient funds on each of them. I would appreciate any information you might be able to provide. Thank You... Cindy

Wed, 06/15/2011 - 18:32 Permalink
sapphire (not verified)

i got a summons about a credit card debt and i dont know what to do, it's my first time ever getting a summons

Mon, 08/22/2011 - 19:29 Permalink
lost in ca (not verified)

I received a summons and it gave me 30 calendar days to respond. Only to find out the date on the paperwork was July 29 and today is the 26th. I barely receieved this summons in the mail two days ago! Today would be my 30 days.. what do I do now?

Sat, 08/27/2011 - 03:44 Permalink
Cindy T. (not verified)

Can I just send a check in a certified envelope with a return receipt request . Just to get it over with? I'm in Washington State by the way.

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 04:45 Permalink
nhangel1 (not verified)

All left on my phone I am so and so the following file number has come across my desk. You have one chance to get in touch with the mediation company.A have been served.Can someone help me I have no idea what to do.

Thank you

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 01:57 Permalink
Danielle sos (not verified)

I was served a summons and the time has past for me to respond, what can I do now
I didn't read the response as I have been sick and had to close my business, just now getting to open my mail

Wed, 10/26/2011 - 12:17 Permalink
Mikey (not verified)

I just recently received a Information Subpoena in the mail for a debt that I dont remember.. Supposidly the last payment was made in 2002. But a default judgement was done without my knowledge of the court date or anything... What can I do now? they filed the judgement in 2009... Is that after the Statue of Limitations?? Help please?

Fri, 11/04/2011 - 15:58 Permalink
Mirela (not verified)

I looked on line and I found out that I have been sued for a credit card debt by an attorney firm in my State on behalf of a credit card collection agency. I have not been served yet. Can I send a debt verification letter to the attorney suing me before the serif will serve me with the summons?

Thu, 11/10/2011 - 20:47 Permalink
mel1 (not verified)


I recieved a notice of deposition from a company I have never heard of, I found out it is a collection agency. They are trying to get my former employer to give then info on me. I don't know what the debt is. What should I do. PLEASE HELP I AM FREAKING OUT.


Wed, 11/16/2011 - 13:57 Permalink
Mike1 (not verified)

I answer to Debt Summons by going to court clerk on November 22, 2011. I mailed a "Debt Validation Letter" on the same day by certified mail. I want to know what is the next step of waiting for my court day?

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 00:05 Permalink
martia (not verified)

my friend was summoned and missed the date what should he do now? can he go to jail for this?

Tue, 12/27/2011 - 02:18 Permalink
tried to fix t… (not verified)

Bein sued for a 2004 ford truck owe 8000,00 don't even owen the vechile was repoed tried to call bank to lower payments was denied ,. Didnt wanta help! I wanted to keep it just didn't give me the chance too :( I don't like bein in a debt Help! What to do?

Tue, 04/10/2012 - 04:57 Permalink
hawk5 (not verified)

atty new defendent is incarcerated still filed complaint for insurance claim and sent to parents home ,how do we file an answer

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:25 Permalink
mervat (not verified)

Today I get another summons from the same please of last year was 15000.00 .now this one 3800. What should I do for the first one ,they put lien on my house .

Wed, 05/23/2012 - 06:25 Permalink
Algie (not verified)

They send me a Summons they filed for me and my mom which is we are in the least month to month what should I do... Yes I'll go to the court and file an answer to it but do I still have to pay their fees for having their lawyer really? it cost 500 dollars and our appartment is 1500 worth...

Fri, 06/15/2012 - 06:03 Permalink
cooking (not verified)

We are 70, on SSI, and have been served a court summons for a debt that we defaulted on in 2009, it was for my wifes dental work. It is a valid debt, however, it was picked up by several collection agencys. Now these bottom feeders are sueing us for double because of interest and late fees. My wife is on chemo for an aggressive form of ovarian cancer, gets weekly treatments. I'm afraid that they will lock up our bank account and we won't be able to even eat. We have no way to settle this debt, please advise.

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 23:35 Permalink