You can represent yourself but you should not. This is a very serious matter, if you do not file and serve an appropriate answer then plaintiff may be able to obtain a default judgment. Depending on what has been alleged you may not be able to discharge the judgment in bankruptcy. This means the judgment may have a significant negative impact on you for many years. Get a job and find an attorney that will take payments until you get this resolved. You may have to put your college education on hold until this gets resolved. You can always go back to school but you have a very short time to deal with this lawsuit.
The information that I am providing is general information based on my understanding of your question. You cannot and should not rely on this general advice in making legal decisions. There may be important information that you did not include in your question that could drastically change the advice an attorney that was fully informed would give you. I am not your attorney. My response does not create an attorney client relationship.
You can answer the lawsuit yourself, however that is fraught with danger. First, the civil suit and all documents and pleadings that arise in the process are a matter of public record and will always be. This could severely affect you present and future reputation and employability. If she obtains a judgment against you, it remains in effect and can be collected on for a period of ten years. If you relocate to another state, the judgment can be transferred there and even endure for a longer period. Some states even allow for wage garnishment for a civil judgment. You need to at least invest into a consultation with an attorney. The SC Bar Lawyer Referral line can refer you to an attorney who will consult with you on a reduced fee basis.
DISCLAIMER – LEGAL ADVICE If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the Thumbs-Up tab at the bottom. You may mark this as a Best Answer for the time I spent crafting this and thinking about your matter. My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed to practice in the appropriate jurisdiction where the legal issue may be filed or in the state where the law applies.
You should absolutely retain an attorney. Because you state that you cannot afford one, you can apply for pro bono (free) representation. Here are a links to two different organizations:
There may be other pro bono organizations in and around Myrtle Beach for which you can also apply.
Please note that the information contained in this response does not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney client-relationship is not established until a signed agreement is made between the attorney and a prospective client.
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