How to Format an Answer Letter for a Civil Summons

Read the Summons before writing an answer.

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When a party decides to sue you, he must write a complaint or summons outlining the reasons for the suit. You typically have 28 days to respond to avoid a default judgment. In a default judgment, a judge automatically rules in favor of the opposing party because you didn’t file a response known as an Answer. Preparing a written Answer entails writing a letter to the judge. In the letter, you’re explaining your reasons why you should win the lawsuit. Writing an Anwer letter isn’t hard work, but it isn’t as simple as composing a letter or email as you would to a friend.

Provide the name of the court at the top of the Answer. You can find the information on the summons. Write the entire address just like it is on the complaint.

List the name of the plaintiff on the left side. Place a “v” on the next line, then write your name -- you’re the defendant.

Write the case number on the right side of the Answer. You can find the number on the Summons.

Address the Judge and discuss your side of the case. For example, start with “Your Honor….” You can either admit or deny any part of the summons. When you deny the plaintiff’s statements, briefly talk about why it’s not true.

Ask the judge to dismiss the case. Print your information such as name, address and telephone number. Underneath your printed name, sign you name.

About the Author

Demetrius Sewell is an experienced journalist who, since 2008, has been a contributing writer to such websites as Internet Brands and print publications such as "Cinci Pulse." Sewell specializes in writing news and feature articles on health, law and finance. She has a master's degree in English.

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