Foreclosure Defense – Answering the Complaint

Once you receive a Summons and Complaint, it is critical that you submit your Answer promptly. If the Summons was delivered to you in person, you have 20 days to respond; if the Summons was not personally delivered, you have 30 days to respond. Additionally, if you attend an initial Settlement Conference, you can respond within 30 days after that conference. At Todd Cushner & Associates, our foreclosure defense lawyers can submit the necessary paperwork on your behalf, ensuring your documents are accurate and delivered on time.

Responding to a Summons and Complaint

If you got a Summons and Complaint, you need to deliver a written Answer form to the plaintiff and the Court. Your Answer is what you tell the court about what the plaintiff said in the Complaint. The Answer tells the court your defenses or reasons the plaintiff must not win the case.

The easiest way to make your Answer is to use the Foreclosure Answer DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Form program. This online program walks you step-by-step through the paperwork you need to complete, explains defenses and gives you helpful definitions and legal information. When you finish the program you get the court forms you need and instructions of what to do next.

If you can’t use the DIY Form computer program you can print paper forms and fill them out by hand. If you are not sure that everything said in the Complaint is true, your Answer should say, “General Denial” at the beginning. After the General Denial, your answer form should say any defense or explanation that you might have. It is very important to write down any defenses you want to tell the court. If you do not put a defense in your answer you may not be allowed to talk about it later in the case. You may also make a counterclaim in your Answer.

If the complaint has a Verification at the end of it, this means that the plaintiff swore that the complaint is true. If there is a verification you should make a verified Answer. You do this by signing the Answer in front of a notary public. If you got an E-filing Notice with the court papers, this mean that you can serve and file your Answer over the internet using NYSCEF, the New York State Courts Electronic Filing system.

To serve the plaintiff with a copy of your Answer have someone 18 or older (not you and not involved in the case) mail or deliver a copy to the plaintiff’s lawyer. The person who does this for you must fill out an Affidavit of Service form. Then, make sure you file this proof of service form with the Court and keep a copy for yourself.

businessman being served a summons by the court
gavel on a lawbook

A Helping Hand in the Foreclosure Litigation Process

Even if you decide to use the Foreclosure Answer DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Form program, you will quickly realize that, like most resources provided by government websites, using it is more challenging than they make it sound. Fortunately, our foreclosure defense attorneys are here for you, providing a helping hand and peace of mind. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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