A complaint is a formal document that informs you, the defendant, that someone is in the process of filing a court case against you. A summons is a document issued by a judge that commands your presence in court on the scheduled trial date, which will be listed on the summons. If you wish to enter a counterargument to the claim, and if you want the right to defend yourself in court, you must write an answer to the complaint and submit it to the court within the given time limit found on the summons.
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Go to your local clerk of court and request an answer form, or download and print a copy of this form from the clerk of court website. Carefully review the copy of the complaint issued to you, and write your answer based on the information provided in the complaint. Write your answer so that it either admits or denies any portion or all allegations written in the complaint. Include any counterarguments you plan to pursue in court in your answer to the complaint. Do not sign the answer until you return the completed answer to the court clerk.
Take the completed answer form to the county court clerk in the court where the complaint was issued. Ask to speak with a notary public. Sign the answer document in the presence of the notary public and ask the notary to sign and notarize the answer, verifying you are the person signing the answer. Make two copies of the notarized answer and submit the original notarized answer to the court clerk.
Take one copy of the notarized answer and mail the copy or have the copy delivered to the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney. Use certified mail to prove delivery of the answer occurred in the appropriate amount of time. Otherwise, ask a third party who is uninvolved with the case to hand deliver the copy of the answer to the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney. Tell the person delivering the answer that he must go to the court clerk to submit an affidavit of service within three days after serving the papers upon the plaintiff or the attorney. Keep the last copy of the answer for your personal records.