If you get a Summons and Complaint telling you that you are being sued for mortgage foreclosure, do not hide it or throw it away. You do not have to move out of your home immediately, and you may have options to avoid foreclosure. Foreclosure proceedings take several months and you may have options to save your home. Only the judge can order you to move out of your home.
1. Fill out forms
Fill out and sign the below forms. Make at least 3 copies of each form when you are done.
- Appearance and Answer for mortgage foreclosure: The Appearance tells the court and the other party that you are participating in the court case on your own without a lawyer. The Answer lets you respond to what the mortgage company said in the complaint.
Note: Before you fill out and file your Answer, talk to an attorney about filing a Motion to Dismiss if you have a legal reason to have the complaint dismissed or a Motion to Quash if you have a legal reason to challenge the service of process, which is the way you received the court papers.
There is a fee to file most forms. The cost depends on the type of case you have and the county where you are filing. Contact your local circuit clerk's office for information on the fees.
If you do not have money to pay court fees, use the Application for Waiver of Court Fees program.
2. File your forms with the court
Now that you have filled out your forms, you need to file them with the clerk. The method you are required to use depends on the county where you are filing.
- E-filing: Most counties require you to file your forms and documents electronically. See E-Filing Basics for more information.
- Paper filing: If your county allows paper filing, or you have an E-filing Exemption Certificate, take your completed forms to the circuit court clerk's office in the courthouse. See courthouse locations. The clerk will stamp your forms. This stamp is important because it's proof that you filed the form with the court. They will give you a copy for your records.
You must file all of the forms within 30 days of receiving the Summons and Complaint.
If you do not file an Answer, the judge will order a foreclosure against you and you will lose your home. You should attend all future court dates in order to know what is going on in your case.
3. Send a copy of your forms to the mortgage company
After you file your forms, you need to take the following actions:
- Send a copy of your stamped Appearance and Answer forms to the mortgage company’s lawyer. You can find contact information for the lawyer on the bottom of the Complaint and Summons you received. You should also send a copy of your stamped Appearance and Answer forms to any party that has filed an Appearance or their attorney if the party is being represented by an attorney.
- Send the copies in the way you said you would on the Answer form, whether that was by hand delivery, by mail, or by email.
- Send the copies of your forms by 5:00 PM on the same day you file them with the circuit clerk.
- Keep one copy of each court stamped form for your records.
Updated: May 2018