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I received a summons and I need to respond in 20 days. How do I respond? is there a form I can use? I cannot afford a lawyer

Lutz, FL |

I am in a debt settlement program and this creditor refuses to work with them on this debt. I am now being sued by this creditor and I cannot afford an attorney, nor can I afford the 300 to file a response. I live in Florida and I am struggling to make ends meet. What can I do to respond so the court knows I am trying to work with these people through debt settlement but they will not acknowledge that.

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Attorney answers 2


First, don't ignore the law suit. If you cannot afford an attorney and are unable to at least consult with an attorney who handles creditors' rights, then do your best at responding using short, clear sentences. You may also add information that you have been attempting to resolve the matter through debt settlement.

This is very general advice -- most importantly not to ignore the complaint --- that is why I strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney to address your specific questions. The Florida Bar offers a referral service of attorneys who give consultations for $25 or less, oftentimes even free. The number is 1-800-342-8011. You may also access the service online at Best of luck to you.


First, I would make sure that I could not afford a lawyer. Many offer reasonable rates and payment plans. There are many things that need to be looked at in these types of suits. You may have defenses that you could lose if you make a misstep. You did not mention if this was in small claims, county or circuit court. Different rules may apply. One thing to keep in mind is that the creditor does not have to work with your debt settlement company. Also, I do not believe you have accurate information concerning filing fees to respond to a suit. You should only have to pay if you have file a counterclaim. The fee should not apply if you file an Answer or a Motion to Dismiss.