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The first thing that you're going to want to do is to file an answer to the complaint. This is going to keep the party suing you from being able to get a "default judgment" (where they win by default merely by you not answering the complaint). After you are served, you have 30 days to file a typed response with the Court, counting holidays and weekends.
Types of Responses: You can file most of the responses with Court forms. You can get the forms at:
Some local forms are at the Court’s Local Forms page.
You have to file a Proof of Service form with your response. (See "What is Service of Process" on the Plaintiff's "Before You Sue" page of this website.) Here are some of the types of responses:
Give your reasons why the Court should take it out of the Complaint.
Once you file this answer, you should contact the collecting firm to see what you can find out about the debt. You should certainly do what you can to try to get the amount reduced. If you were married at the time, the debt would be "community" debt, and would be jointly owed by you, even if she was supposed to pay it. You can join her in the lawsuit, if you wish, so that you could get a judgment against her for failing to pay. You can also contact the court clerk to see about doing this.
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