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You’ve been served with a lawsuit.  The cover sheet (the “citation”) says that you need to file your answer and gives you some kind of deadline to do it.

But the deadline it gives you is not an actual date.  It’s a number of days after you “were served with the petition and citation.”  Or, worse yet, it says something like “the Monday next following the expiration of 20 days”?

What does this mean?  And how do you determine when your answer is due? Our Dallas debt collection attorney can help.

The first thing you need to do is determine when you were served

The first thing you need to do is determine what date you were served.

If a constable or process server physically handed you a copy of the lawsuit, then that’s day you got served.

If the lawsuit was taped to your door, or sent to you by certified mail, or if the process server served your spouse or some other third party, who then gave you the lawsuit, you need to read the papers closely to see what day you were served.

In Justice Court, your answer is due 14 days after the date you were served

If your lawsuit is in Justice Court, also known as JP Court, your answer is due 14 calendar days after the date you were served.

If day 14 falls on a day the courts are closed, then your answer date automatically rolls over to the next day the courts are open.

In County and District Courts, your answer is due 21-27 days after the date your were served

In County and District Court, your citation says that your answer is due on “the Monday next following the expiration of 20 days” after the date you were served.

Here’s what that means:

  • Count forward 20 calendar days from the date you were served.
  • Then go to the next Monday after that.
  • If day 20 is a Sunday, your answer is due the next day, day 21
  • If day 20 is a Monday, you go to the next Monday, which is day 27.

As with JP Court, if your answer date falls on a day the courts are closed, your answer date automatically rolls over to the next day the courts are open.

What happens if you don’t file your answer on time?

If you don’t file your answer on time, then the creditor can get a default judgment against you at any point after you answer is due.

Get a free consultation

Give our debt collection attorneys a call at 844.334.4566 or fill out the contact form.  We will look up your lawsuit, tell you whether or not you have been served, and tell you when your Answer is due.  The consultation is free, and there is no obligation.

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