After you have been servedwith a citation and petition, you must file your answer by the deadline.
- To determine the deadline, find the day you were served on a calendar, count out 20 more days (including weekends and holidays) then go to the next Monday. You must file your answer with the court on or before this date at 10:00 a.m. If the 20th day falls on a Monday, go to the next Monday. If the courts are closed on the day your answer is due, then your answer is due the next day the courts are open.
- If you are served and do not file an answer on or before the deadline, the petitioner can finish the case without any further notice to you. This is called a “default judgment.”
If you have not been servedwith a citation and petition, there is no deadline to file your answer. You can file your answer at any time after the petitioner files a petition (the form that starts the lawsuit) with the court. If you file your answer, the petitioner will not need to have you served.
The petitioner = party/person who filed the suit or request
Respondent = party/person who filed the answer.
In the Justice of Peace court:
The deadline to file an answer is different if you have a civil case such as an eviction or small claims. The deadline is 14 days.
If you are served with citation and petition and the Court does not receive your Answer, a default judgment may be granted against you. However, if you have not been served or could not been served, the complaint may be placed on a dismissal docket.
Plaintiff = person/party who filed the lawsuit
Defendant = person/party who respond or answer to lawsuit.
In some cases, there are counter-suit, an instance where the Defendant or Respondent answers and files his or her own complaint.
If you have any questions, call our firm: (832) 529-1255. Free case evaluation.