How to Answer a Proposed Judgment

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When a judgment letter is received, the defendant writes a response letter.
When a judgment letter is received, the defendant writes a response letter. (Image: keyboard typing image by palms from Fotolia.com)

A proposed judgment is often known also as a summons and complaint. A person files this when he has a problem or complaint against someone else. The defendant receives this judgment and then must send a response to the court within a specified period, typically 20 to 30 days. The defendant answers this proposed judgment b writing a letter and mailing it to the court. The judge reviews the information and proceeds as she sees fit. If a response letter is not received by the court, the judge still proceeds, but typically rules in the plaintiff’s favor. A response letter contains several key components, including responses to each complaint statement.

Begin the letter with a caption. A caption is found at the top of the letter and contains general information relating to the case. It contains the names and addresses of the court, the plaintiff and the defendant. It also contains the court filing number.

Respond to each complaint. A judgment contains one or more complaints made by the plaintiff. A response letter to this judgment should contain a bulleted list, with each bulleted answer a response to a single complaint that is listed on the judgment. The responses should state whether the defendant agrees with or denies the alleged complaint. A brief summary of why is to be written by each answer.

Include any additional information. Any other pertinent information regarding the innocence of the defendant should be listed as bulleted items as well. All of this should be factual information that will help the judge rule in your favor.

Notarize the response letter. Having this form notarized is not required, but it is often done. By having the answer notarized, it helps the defendant prove the validity and seriousness of the letter. Then make a copy. The defendant keeps the copy and mails or takes the original to the court.

Deliver the letter to the court. The letter can be mailed or dropped off at the courthouse. It must reach the courthouse before the deadline given in the judgment letter.

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