“You’ve been served!” – the dreaded phrase that indicates that you have received a summons to appear at civil court. While this part of the civil dispute legal process is fairly familiar, it may be less clear what to do next if you’ve landed yourself in this situation. While the specifics can vary from state to state, we will take a brief look at Michigan’s Civil Answer form to find out what comes next.
The first thing that you should know is that you have a limited time to respond once you’ve been served with a summons. In Michigan if you’ve been served in person you have 21 days after receiving the summons to file a written answer with the court, and 28 days if you were served by mail or outside the state. So get on it!
Secondly it’s important to keep in mind that you are required to respond by filing what is known as an ‘answer’ to the summons. In Michigan that form is the form MC 03, or the Michigan Answer form. The Michigan Answer must be filed in the same court where the original complaint was filed, as well as served to the original plaintiff.
The MC.03 form itself is fairly easy to fill out. It starts with the contact details for the plaintiff and defendants and their representing attorneys. This is followed by a section where you can refute the plaintiff’s claims on a paragraph by paragraph basis. On the last page is an area for you to check the affirmative defenses that explain your side of the dispute. This is when you have the chance to say your piece and you should do it now as the court may prohibit you from raising these defenses later!
If you use PDFfiller it’s easy to produce four professional-looking copies of the Civil Answer Form – one to be filed at the court, one served to the plaintiff or their attorney, one with certification of service filled out and again filed at court, and the last one for you to keep for your records.
Probably the most important thing to remember is that if you do not appear and answer a summons as required, the court may enter a default judgement against you. Which in almost all cases is not a good thing! So get started filling out your Michigan Court Answer with PDFfiller as soon as possible and serve it right back!