How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection in Texas

Many people are overwhelmed when they are served with a notice that a creditor is filing a lawsuit against them and choose to ignore it rather than defend themselves. However, in Texas, failing to answer the lawsuit within 20 days of receiving the notice usually causes the court issue a default judgment in favor of the creditor. This means you lose your right to defend yourself and must pay what the creditor requests. You must prepare your own lawsuit answer because Texas courts do not have standardized answer forms.

Step 1

Review the lawsuit notice. Read each to determine the truthfulness of the allegations against you. If you are unsure of any information in the notice, contact an attorney that has experience defending against Texas debt collection lawsuits.

Step 2

Open your computer's word processing program. Put your name, address, phone number and the date on the first four lines of the left side of the page.

Step 3

Skip a line and copy the header information from the top of the lawsuit notice on the next four lines. This includes the court name, such as the Texas district or justice courts, depending on where the suite was filed, your name as the defendant, the creditor's name as the plaintiff and the case number.

Step 4

Skip another line and make a numbered list that admits or denies each paragraph allegation on the lawsuit notice. Use the same allegation numbers as the notice and answer each one honestly. Simply type "Admit" or "Deny" next to each number and a brief explanation such as, "This is not my name" or "I do not owe this amount." Type your name at the bottom of the page.

Step 5

Print three copies of the answer and sign them. Mail one copy to the lawyer listed on the lawsuit and one copy to the courthouse. The notice provides the addresses you must send the answer to. Use certified mail so you have a record of the delivery date.

Tip

Texas law requires all notices for debt lawsuits to include copies of the contract you signed with the original creditor. This includes agreements you signed electronically for online applications. If the notice does not include the necessary paperwork, the creditor does not have a claim and you must file a motion to dismiss instead of a lawsuit answer. The creditor must provide the contract within 30 days or the court will dismiss the case. Likewise, if the default happened more than four years before the date of the lawsuit, it is outside of the statute of limitations in Texas and the court will likely dismiss the case if you file a motion to dismiss.

references