They are calendar days, and they apply from the time of SERVICE, not the time of RECEIPT.
there are various extensions and caveats in the rules of civil procedure. But you'll have to look those up.
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The Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure govern the initiation of an action before the courts, including service off complaints, answers, notice, and time elements. Start looking at Rule 4.
The 20 day rule is in calendar days. If you are still within the timeframe, but need an extension, simply call the opposing attorney and request additional time. If it is granted, document the agreement (an email will do).
If the opposing attorney doesn’t cooperate or the 20 days has already passed, file a motion for leave to enter a late answer with the court (attach your answer). Don’t forget to give notice to opposing attorney. You should also request that the opposing attorney assent to your motion.
Motions for leave to file a late answer are generally granted when a credible reason for the delay is presented to the court (examples — wrong address, out of town, trouble finding legal representation, medical problems).
This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.
For the purpose of calculating time under the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, the 20 days includes any weekends or holidays. It is 20 calendar days, not 20 business days. If you are already having difficulty manipulating court rules and procedure, do yourself a favor and retain an attorney.