Q: What happens if I am served with a civil petition filed in district court?
A: A defendant named in a petition and properly served must file an answer with the court within 20 days after service. If you do not timely answer a petition, the plaintiff may move for a default judgment against you or you may be stuck admitting certain allegations contained in the petition.
Once you are served with a petition, you should consult an attorney immediately to determine if a pre-answer motion should be filed instead of an answer, to discuss which allegations (if any) to admit or deny in your answer, and to discuss appropriate affirmative defenses to be asserted in your answer. Navigating these considerations can be tricky, so it is always wise to check with an attorney.
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