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John, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5685
Experience:  Licensed and practicing attorney.
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We got served for small claims court and forgot to answer with

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We got served for small claims court and forgot to answer with in the 20 day period. It has been 23 days. We totally screwed up. What can we do.
Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

Your first step is to call the court and determine if a default has been entered on the case - if not - then hurry up and get the answer filed before default is entered. If a default is entered you need to file a simple motion with the court to set aside the default. Generally you will list the reason(s) why you missed the answer due date, and that your defense has merit for x,y, z reasons. The court more than likely will grant setting aside the motion as it is fairly standard to set aside a default if too much time has not passed since the answer due date.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.

I should have added the court has fillable motions to set aside default you can find here.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They did get a default judgement before I could file. What is the name of the motion I need to file. I wanted to give you more background on this case. The plaintiff is an old tenant who thinks we didn't give them back enough of the security deposit. The house they lived in was in our corporate name, however, they sued my wife as an individual. When we went to court the judge told them he would keep the case open, but they would have to re-serve us. They did and then we totally forgot that we had to answer. So I'm not sure what a good explanation is for why we didn't answer. Can you think of one? My wife is also panicked that they are going to be able to go to our bank account tomorrow and take the money out. Can they do it that quick? They got the default on 10/2.


The name of the Motion is "Motion to Set Aside Default". The court has a simple form you can fill out here.

If you hurry up and file, just stating that you forgot will probably be a legit excuse.

The couldn't get a garnishment on your bank that fast. A judgment has to sit for 21 days without objection before it can be garnished. You'd be notified by the bank first in any event and have an opportunity to object to the garnishment.

Hope this helps. Get your motion filed and you'll be fine. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. Thanks.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I believe our motion to set aside default was approved, but then the plaintiffs filled a Opposition to Motion to Set Aside Default. Do you know what that is? Thanks

Yes, it means they are going to contest your motion to set aside default. You're motion to set aside will most likely be granted despite their opposition to it. Judges generally prefer not to allow a party to default if they have an otherwise meritorious defense to the matter.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I just noticed that there is Small Claims Referee Motion scheduled in two weeks. Do you think that is to decide on the motion?

Yes, Most likely. You should call the court to make sure though.
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