A Guide to Foreclosure – Part 3

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Make sure you’re very careful to open all correspondence sent to you by the Court and by your Bank’s attorney. You’ll receive important notices about the status of your case in the mail, and it’s vital that you’re aware of all these developments.

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Fifth Stage: You File a ‘Notice of Appearance’ or an ‘Answer’

Now that you’ve received the Summons and Complaint, you should file a ‘Notice of Appearance, or an ‘Answer’. If you were served personally by a ‘process server’, you have 20 days to file your response. A process server is a 3rd party, hired by the attorneys for the Bank to deliver legal documents. Should the Summons and Complaint be left on your door, you’ll also receive a copy by mail: if this is the method by which you receive your copy you now have 30 days to file an ‘Answer’.

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What is an ‘Answer?

An Answer is your written response to the complaint. It’s optional as to whether an Answer is filed by you. Typically, you’d file an Answer if you have your own legal claims against your Bank; but if you’ve fallen behind on payments and have struggled to catch up, then it’s often not necessary to file an Answer. If responding with an Answer, it will typically contain a paragraph-by-paragraph response from you to each paragraph contained in the complaint.

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Also, your Answer is where you would raise your ‘counterclaims’ against your Bank. Use your Answer to tell the Court the ways by which you believe the Bank may have violated your rights. If you don’t file an Answer, yet you have claims against the Bank, you could well be waiving your rights to have these issues raised in the future.

What is a ‘Notice of Appearance’?

This is a document filed with the Court alerting the Court that you intend being an active participant in the foreclosure proceedings. When you file a Notice of Appearance, you’re basically advising the Court that you want copies of all legal documents related to the foreclosure to be forwarded to you. Note: If you’ve filed an Answer, then you’ve automatically made this request and it’s not necessary to file a Notice of Appearance. However, whether you file something with the Court, or not, you’ll still have an opportunity to participate during the Settlement Conference process.

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