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What court papers will I get?

Produced by Mariah Jennings-Rampsi, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, with funding from American College of Bankruptcy
Created June 2012

If a creditor is taking you to court you should get a Summons and a complaint first.  You may also later receive discovery requests or a subpoena.

A Summons — a summons is a paper that says you must go to court or respond to a court complaint.  The summons tells you how many days you have from the date you were served to respond to the complaint against you or to go to court.  The summons will state the number of days you have to file an answer or it will give a date to go to court. 

A Complaint — A complaint is a written statement that says that the plaintiff is suing you for a specific violation of the law.  In debt collection cases, the complaint usually says that the creditor believes you broke a contact and you owe the creditor a specific amount of money.  The complaint may also say that you owe attorney's fees, court costs, and interest on the amount of the unpaid bill. The name of the county and court where the lawsuit is filed are written on the summons and complaint.  You will need these to know where to file your answer.

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