If you have received court papers, you should not ignore them. Failing to respond within the allotted time will result in a default judgment.
Always answer the summons within the time required. When you are served with a law suit, the papers will tell you what the time period is in order to respond. Without this response, the party that brought the suit can apply for a default judgment against you and will also pile on attorney fees and costs.
If you have any doubt how to answer the legal papers, here are some options:
(1) Go to the court clerk's office and ask for help. Court clerks may not give legal advice and so you should not rely on the clerk’s office to tell you what to say in response to the legal allegation, or how to defend yourself. However, they may be able to assist in providing various forms or explaining the time deadlines.
(2) Retain an attorney. This is the best option because an attorney understands the meaning of the language in the complaint and understands what valid defenses you have.
(3) If you can not afford an attorney, call the state or county bar association and ask for a low fee or no fee referral.
Beyond answering the legal papers, civil court rules also allow you to send discovery to the people who have sued you, requiring them to answer questions and to provide documents. This can only be done if you answer in a timely fashion, and should really only be done by an attorney.
I truly wish you the best.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.
There are new programs for student loan repayment based on income. Answer the lawsuit and include a defense that payments are not affordable. Check the website I listed below to determine affordable payment amounts. Of course, this only works if you have been talking to them and trying to work out payment arrangements.
Please note that student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and they lenders have the power to garnish money that others do not.
Consult a local lawyer for more assistance.
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[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
You either need to settle yourself, by following my guide on Avvo on how to settle collection lawsuits (may do's and don'ts), or you need to hire a collection defense lawyer. Before you call a lawyer, review my guide, which is available through my Avvo profile. I advise against trying to defend yourself, because if you lose, you will probably not be able to discharge it in bankruptcy.