February 24, 2024

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in New Mexico (2024 Guide)

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in New Mexico (2024 Guide) ZumaZip

In New Mexico, you’ve got 30 days to tackle a debt lawsuit head-on. The key? Filing a written Answer that covers all the bases and defends your rights. With ZumaZip by your side, you can breeze through this process. We’ll guide you through drafting and filing your Answer, giving you the edge to triumph over creditors and debt collectors in court.

Few things in life are more stressful than finding out you’re being sued. These days, with money already being so tight, it can be even more stressful to find yourself on the receiving end of a debt collection lawsuit. If you know you can’t afford to hire an attorney to help you out, it can be really tempting to want to ignore the lawsuit altogether. But if you do, that only guarantees that the other side will win, so you need to resist that temptation as hard as you can.

Besides, even though responding to a lawsuit on your own sounds intimidating, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think. In this article we will walk you through all of the steps to help make it a little simpler. We’ll even include information specific to New Mexico, like the response deadline, online court forms, and information about new and upcoming programs in the New Mexico court system.

Table of Contents

  • Deadlines
  • Steps to Respond
  • What is zUMAzIP?
  • Statute of Limitations in New Mexico
  • Settle Your Debt
  • New Mexico Legal Aid Organizations
  • Key Takeaways
  • Guides for Other States

Respond to your New Mexico debt lawsuit before the deadline

In New Mexico you have 30 days to file an Answer with the court after you’re served the Summons and Complaint. The debt collection lawsuit begins as soon as the plaintiff (the party suing you) files the Summons and Complaint with the court. This starting date will be time-stamped by the Court on both documents you receive, as well as stated in the accompanying certificate of service. You will need to calculate the deadline to file your response from that filing date to make sure that you do not miss the 30 day deadline.

If you do not file a response before that deadline, the plaintiff can ask for the Court to grant something called a default judgment. This means that they win because you failed to respond within the allowed timeframe.

The default judgment has additional consequences as well. Because you failed to respond there was no dispute for any of the facts set forth by the plaintiff. This means they win a judgment for the full amount they requested, even if you believe that amount is inaccurate. It’s too late to dispute once they have the default judgment. In addition, once they have a default judgment in their favor they can turn that Court order into a garnishment, which can take money out of your paycheck before you even see it. This will only make your financial circumstances harder than they were already, so you should do everything in your power to avoid handing them an easy victory.

Use New Mexico Answer to Summons forms

ZumaZip’s Answer form is the easiest way to draft and file an Answer to a debt collection lawsuit. you can do it on your own using the forms below. All you need to do is answer a few questions online, and ZumaZip’s software will translate your answers into the necessary legalese and proper formatting. When everything is drafted and ready to send, ZumaZip files the document in the court and sends it to the plaintiff for you.

If you’d rather take care of the Answer by yourself, you can do it on your own using the forms below.

If your case is in the New Mexico Magistrate Court (civil claims less than$10,000) there is an online Answer Form that you can use. You’ll need to go to the New Mexico Courts Forms site, choose “Magistrate Court,” then choose “Civil,” and click on option “4-301 – Answer to civil complaint” to access a pdf copy of the form. If your New Mexico debt collection case is for more than $10,000, then you will likely be in District court. In this case you will need to format and draft your own response, which we will explain in detail later in the article.

Answer filing fees for New Mexico

Luckily, there is no fee to file an Answer in New Mexico. However, if you plan to file any other type of legal document, there may be a fee associated with it.

New Mexico Court costs are listed here for each district.

Use these steps to respond to a debt collection case in New Mexico

It may well sound intimidating to think about writing your own response to a legal action, but it’s actually much easier than you are expecting. So long as you follow the three steps below, each of which we will explore further in detail, you will give yourself the best chance to be victorious in your debt collection lawsuit.

  1. Answer each issue of the Complaint.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Keep reading to learn more about each step

There are a few items specific to New Mexico that you should know before creating your Answer document that may impact your timing. First, in September of 2019, New Mexico courts launched a new statewide program for online dispute resolution for lawsuits concerning consumer debt. This option, which is only available for a limited period at the beginning of a lawsuit, allows for quicker resolution of these cases without a court trial.

Second, in June of 2020 the State Supreme Court of New Mexico suspended the issuance of any new writs of garnishment and writs of execution for consumer debt collection in district, magistrate and metropolitan court cases due to the ongoing public health crisis. Garnishments, as we discussed above, allow for the opportunity to take money directly out of your paycheck or bank account by the holder of a court order. For the time being there is temporary relief from these measures.

Regardless of any stay on garnishment orders, however, make certain that you are still responding to the Complaint within the 30 day timeframe. It’s still vital to avoid any default judgment. The clock starts on that 30 days from the date that the Summons and Complaint were filed.

1. Answer each issue of the Complaint.

The Complaint document outlines each claim against you. It’s up to you to go through each claim separately and respond in corresponding order. Give each answer same numerical order of the allegations so that it is clear which response goes with which issue, and use of on the three answer choices below:

  1. Admit
  2. Deny
  3. Deny due to lack of knowledge

If your case is in Magistrate Court and you are using the online “Answer to Complaint” form you’ll need to consolidate your responses into a couple of specific categories in response to the form of the document. The first paragraph asks you to list any reasons that “the Plaintiff is not entitled to the amount claimed because” so here you would fill in any disputes about whether you owe the claim or the amount etc. If you have more to say than will fit on the lines provided you can attach additional sheets of paper as needed.

Alternatively you can answer three additional queries, beginning with asking you to offer any reasons that “the personal property claimed by Plaintiff should not be turned over to Plaintiff because.” That route goes on to ask you a second question, if applicable, that the “Defendant asserts the following counterclaim or set-off against the Plaintiff.” We will discuss the answer to this question in more depth in the next step for your response. The final query on this route is to ask whether a “trial by jury is demanded,” which if chosen requires an additional fee at filing.

ZumaZip makes it simple to respond the right way.

2. Assert affirmative defenses.

This next section is where you get to fight back, by using any and all applicable affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense is any reason that you can assert to show that that the plaintiff doesn’t have a case. You can find a complete list of all affirmative defenses allowed in New Mexico in New Mexico’s Rules of Civil Procedures Rule 1-008 (C.) If you’re using the form for Magistrate court you can include this information in the three question route, under question number two.

With ZumaZip you can make the right affirmative defenses the right way.

We will discuss some of the more common affirmative defenses briefly below, but please note that this does not include all the possible choices.

  • Payment: If you can prove that you’ve already paid the debt in question, that will stop any lawsuit in its tracks.
  • Accord and satisfaction: This is a legal term for any agreement that you came to with the creditor regarding the debt in question, which could include an agreement to pay less than the total amount in full satisfaction of the debt. This is detail that could easily fall through the cracks from the original creditor when the debt was purchased by a debt collection agency. Attach any proof you have of such an agreement to your Answer document.
  • The debt was already discharged in a bankruptcy. If the debt in question was already discharged in bankruptcy then no creditor can pursue collection through the courts.
  • Statute of imitations has expired. A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for legal action. We will discuss the New Mexico statute of limitations on debt collection in more detail later in this article.

After you go through all of your affirmative defenses you can also explore any counterclaims against the plaintiff. Counterclaims might be appropriate in the event that you can show that the plaintiff violated New Mexico debt collection laws. New Mexico follows the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and supplements that protection with the New Mexico Fair Debt Collection Practices Act 61-18A-1 to further protect consumers. Do keep in mind, however, that counterclaims can be very complex and would best be pursued with the assistance of knowledgeable legal counsel.

Make the right defense the right way with ZumaZip.

3. File the Answer with the court and serve the plaintiff.

Finally, make certain that after you’ve put in all of your hard work to draft your Answer that you file it properly with the Court before the 30 day deadline.

To complete this final step of filing your answer you will need to do the following:

  • Print at least two copies of your Answer
  • Mail one copy to the court
  • Mail the other copy to the plaintiff’s attorney.

It can be helpful to print an additional copy for your own records and for use at any hearing or alternative dispute proceeding.

ZumaZip files for you.

Now, let’s consider an example of how to respond to a debt lawsuit in New Mexico.

Nicky faced a challenging situation when LVNV Funding sued her in New Mexico for a $4,000 debt she knew she didn’t owe. With ZumaZip’s assistance, she crafted a robust Answer to the lawsuit within New Mexico’s 30-day deadline. Denying each claim against her and asserting her affirmative defenses, including proof of the debt being paid off, Nicky felt empowered. ZumaZip seamlessly filed her Answer electronically, and the outcome was in her favor—LVNV Funding withdrew the case. With ZumaZip’s support, Nicky successfully navigated the legal process and emerged victorious.

Why ZumaZip?

ZumaZip is your ally in battling debt collectors. Whether you need to respond to a debt lawsuit, send letters to collectors, or negotiate a settlement, ZumaZip has you covered. Our Answer service is a user-friendly web application that guides you through the process step by step. Just answer the questions, and we’ll take care of the rest. With ZumaZip, you can have peace of mind knowing that your document will be reviewed by an attorney and filed promptly.

Check the statute of limitations on debt in New Mexico

The New Mexico Statute of Limitations varies depending on the type of type, as outlined in New Mexico Statutes §37. For any open or oral contract, the statue of limitation on New Mexico debt collection is four years. For debt incurred by credit card, mortgage, or loans, the statute of limitations is six years in New Mexico. This includes written or promissory contracts, like medical debt. Once this time period has passed for the appropriate type of debt, recovery through the court system is no longer an option for collection purposes.

The table below further outlines the statute of limitations on different types of debt in New Mexico.

Debt TypeDeadline
Open Account4 years
Oral contract4 years
Credit Card6 years
Student Loan6 years
Medical6 years
Auto Loan6 years
Mortgage6 years
Personal Loan6 years
Judgment14 years
N.M. Stat. § 37-1-2, 3, 4

Settle your debt in New Mexico before going to court

Maybe you know that you owe the debt. If this is the case, you might be wondering if debt settlement is a good option for you.

If you’ve been sued for debt, you can reach out to your creditors or debt collectors at any stage of the lawsuit to discuss debt settlement. Debt settlement is the process by which a consumer, like you, settles an outstanding debt for an amount that is less than the full amount owed.

ZumaZip Settle, powered by ZumaZip, makes the debt settlement process simple.

As a tech-based approach to debt settlement, ZumaZip Settle’s software can help you send and receive settlement offers until an agreement is reached. Then, it helps manage your documentation of the settlement and transfers your payment to the creditor or debt collector, keeping your financial information private and secure.

Every state has at least one government-funded organization that provides free legal services to people who cannot otherwise afford assistance. For New Mexico you can reach out to the following:

New Mexico Court Locations

Not sure where to appear for your court date? Check out this directory of New Mexico Court Locations to find your local courthouse and clerk’s information.

Key Takeaways

So, in short, here’s the review on how to answer a summons for debt collection in New Mexico.

  • Remember that the Deadline for New Mexico is 30 days
  • Use ZumaZip’s Answer form, follow New Mexico’s online form for Magistrate Court, or draft your own Answer.

Complete the following three steps:

  1. Answer each issue in the complaint, paragraph by paragraph.
  2. Assert your any and all of your affirmative defenses.
  3. File and serve the Answer on the Court and the Plaintiff’s attorney.

Remember to check the New Mexico statute of limitations on debt, which ranges from four to six years, depending on the type of debt involved.

What is ZumaZip?

ZumaZip is a convenient solution designed to streamline your response to a debt collection lawsuit. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when you use ZumaZip:

Firstly, you’ll access our user-friendly web application, which guides you through the process step by step. You’ll be prompted to answer a series of questions related to your specific situation. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you have the option to either print out the finalized forms and mail them to the appropriate courts yourself, or you can opt to utilize ZumaZip’s services to file them on your behalf. Additionally, if you choose this option, an attorney will review your document for added peace of mind.

If you’re seeking guidance on how to effectively respond to a debt collection lawsuit, ZumaZip can provide the assistance you need. Feel free to explore our FAQs for more information on what ZumaZip has to offer.

What if I haven’t been sued yet?

If you’ve only received a collections notice, but not a lawsuit, the best way to respond is with a Debt Validation Letter. When a debt collector contacts you in any way, whether it’s by phone or mail, you can respond by formally requesting a debt validation with a Debt Validation Letter . This letter notifies the collector that you dispute the debt and forces them to provide proof you owe the debt. They can’t call you or continue collecting until they provide validation of the debt. This flowchart shows how you can use a Debt Validation Letter to win.

Get started with a Debt Validation Letter here.

How to Answer a Summons for debt collection in all 50 states

Here’s a list of guides on how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in each state:

Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Hey there! Facing off against a debt collector can feel like a daunting challenge, but fear not! We’re here to help you navigate through it all with our handy guides designed to assist you in beating every debt collector you encounter. Whether you’re facing a new lawsuit or dealing with a persistent collector, we’ve got your back. Stay positive, stay informed, and let’s tackle this together!

Settle your medical debt

Having a health challenge is stressful, but dealing medical debt on top of it is overwhelming. Here are some resources on how to manage medical debt.

Stop calls from Debt Collectors

Do you keep getting calls from an unknown number, only to realize that it’s a debt collector on the other line? If you’ve been called by any of the following numbers, chances are you have collectors coming after you, and we’ll tell you how to stop them.

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