Thank you so much for your response. I ended up calling an attorney yesterday who gave me a very similar answer. I did not correctly read the legal jargon on the summons: Said answer must be filed with this Court within three days after service on plaintiff's Attorney. I was under the impression that once I made the arrangements with the plaintiff, they would notify the court. I didn't read that as though I was supposed to follow through with the actual court. I thought contacting the plaintiff would stop all court proceedings. I am an educated woman with two degrees, and I had difficulty understanding the summons...I wish there was a copy in layman's terms accompanied with these summons with explicit directions on what the recipient needs to do, as I would have certainly done it. The attorney I spoke with yesterday alluded to the fact that while their procedure was legal (in terms of establishing the lien), it was not good practice, as we were working on making the situation right.
I've talked to Beneficial and their attorney's office, and while sympathetic, they said they cannot release the lien until the debt is paid in full, thus not enabling us to refinance our mortgage then (which would have saved us $30,000 just in the next five years). It's just a bad situation all around.
Again, I greatly appreciate your feedback and advise. Thank you so much.
You are most welcome.