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I am not financially stable to retain a lawyer. However, My property is under foreclosure. Looking for a form to file a response

Tampa, FL |

just for an extension. I have a realtor that is attempting to sell the property

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Attorney answers 4


I'm sorry. It does not work that way. You can ask for an extension to file an answer & affirmative defenses to the complaint against you that the process server brought to you home, but you HAVE to file an answer by 20 day deadline or ask for an extension of time to file an answer then file by that deadline.

I think you should shop around and see if you can hire an attorney who will write an answer & AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES for you, but not put his name in the court record so that he or she is not responsible. When you file it will be your answer, but it was written by an attorney. Or you can do Internet searches to find answers.

A lot of homeowers just write, "I deny all allegations" or "I deny all claimes", but it is NOT good enough.

Keith Adam Halpern

Keith Adam Halpern


Attorney Bishop raises some excellent points. Interestingly, a great number of cases are also subject to dismissal BEFORE answering. It's extremely important to get something filed (preferably with licensed counsel) in response to your summons and complaint. YOU DO NOT WANT TO RISK GETTING ZAPPED with a CLERK'S DEFAULT-- there is no need for that. Shop the lawyers and make sure you get something filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in that case before the deadline--- even if it's to say, that you need an extension of time to find an attorney, you're doing the best you can, and that you don't have everything you need to respond to the Complaint at this time (if that's applicable). Good Luck and get on it.


Let me go into Mr. Bishop's response with a little more detail, and I think he would agree with me:

He wrote: I think you should shop around and see if you can hire an attorney who will write an answer & AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES for you, but not put his name in the court record so that he or she is not responsible. When you file it will be answer, but it was written by an attorney.

When an attorney files a pleading, the attorney is in the case for all purposes and can not get out of the case without getting permission from the judge, which means more time spent.

Attorneys are permitted to prepare documents for the signatures of the parties, who then file the pleading with the Clerk. The attorney is not an attorney of record in the case and all future pleadings will continue to be sent to you, not the attorney. That is what he meant by "he or she is not responsible"--the attorney has no responsibility to provide you with any additional legal advise, or to go to court in your behalf, or to explain anything else to you as to what the future pleadings would be, or what you should do with your case.

Frankly, although I do such "ghost writing", and it is perfectly legal and ethical, I dislike it immensely. It is terribly inefficient. The party assumes the attorney remembers what is going on in the case when that is not the case. Inevitably, the "non-client" will get another paper and they do not know what to do so they call and they have to set up another appointment to see me and in the meanwhile time is slipping away.

Perhaps, in addition to finding an attorney to prepare a single pleading for you you should also consider spending a little bit more money, for a retainer, to ensure that the attorney will make himself/herself available to you by phone or email. You wouldn't be paying for representation but you would be paying to have access to the attorney.

If you are still reluctant to have an attorney ease the way for you, there is yet another approach: look at the court files at the Clerk's office, or on-line on computer, to see cases where a Motion for Extension of Time has been filed. Then, look at the Motion in the Court file. A lot of pleading work does not have legal mumbo-jumbo. Heck, even a letter filed with the Clerk, with reference to the case number and names of the parties, showing that a copy of the request has been mailed or hand delivered to the Plaintiff, asking the judge for more time to file a response, would work to help you avoid being in default and getting your request in front of the judge.

However, when it comes to preparing a Motion to Dismiss or an Answer or Affirmative Defenses--that is something to be done by an experienced legal professional.

I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.


If it's the extension to file a response that you're seeking, pick up th phone and call the attorney who signed the pleading and asked him if he would agree to an extension of time. If he does, get his e-mail address and sent him an e-mail confirming your conversation with him, something like "according to our conversation (say when), you agreed to an extension of time through ____________ for me to file a response to the complaint in the referenced case number. If he/she does not agree to an extension of time, then file a paper with the court called motion for extension of time to file a response to the complaint, send a copy to the opposing counse, and call the judicial assistant to schedule a hearing on the motion.

Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is or is intended to be created by my answer. You should contact an attorney in your area to discuss your case.


If you cannot afford a lawyer go to legal aid in your area.

There are some great lawyers working for various legal aid offices across Florida. If you qualify for legal aid you would be a fool not to accept their help.

Keith Adam Halpern

Keith Adam Halpern


You may also find counsel through the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). Mr. Shuster has another fine point.