Law Office Of Paul DePetris
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How To Answer An Essex County Law Division Complaint FAQS

INTRODUCTION
Read below to learn more about this topic.  Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send him an email.  Warning – this article does not necessarily include every New Jersey court rule, code or law that may apply to your Case!  The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws.  Before taking any action, read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney.  Court addresses, hours of operation, deadlines and directions may change so check with the court in advance of mailing documents to court or going there!  Some of the webpages on this site don’t apply to all types of Cases, since there are different rules for different case types!


HOW TO ANSWER AN ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION COMPLAINT FAQS


WHAT IS AN ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION COMPLAINT?
To know how to answer an Essex County Law Division complaint, you must understand what a lawsuit actually is.   A complaint, also called a lawsuit is a type of civil lawsuit filed in the Essex County Law Division, Civil Part for any amount of damages or certain other kinds of relief.   A  Essex County Law Division complaint is not a letter – it is a document with serious consequences, since ignoring the lawsuit could result in the entry of a money judgment against you and thereafter, collection activity against you and the reduction of your credit score.   An Essex County Law Division lawsuit begins when a person or business or their Attorney prepares and files a lawsuit and pays the court a filing fee.  If you are being sued in the lawsuit, the Essex County Law Division complaint states that you are a defendant to the lawsuit.   Never ignore a lawsuit!   The longer you wait to file the answer, the more damage you could do to your case!


DO I ANSWER AN ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION SUMMONS?  
To know how to answer an Essex County Law Division complaint, you must understand what an Essex County Law Division summons is.  Many people mistakenly believe that an Essex County Law Division summons is a New Jersey lawsuit.   However, an Essex County Law Division summons is not a New Jersey lawsuit at all.  Instead, an Essex County Law Division summons is a court document that “summons” you to file a answer in a particular court in an Essex County Law Division lawsuit.  The Essex County Law Division summons should state the date on which the Essex County Law Division complaint was served on you.  This is the date that you use to figure out how much time you have to file an Essex County Law Division answer.  If you are sued in an Essex County Law Division lawsuit you have 35 days following service of the complaint to file an Essex County Law Division answer.


HOW ARE ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION SUMMONSES AND COMPLAINTS NORMALLY GIVEN TO DEFENDANTS?
Normally, complaints are served by a process server – a person who actually gives you or a member of your household or employee or representative of your business a lawsuit.  However, there are sometimes exceptions to this procedure.   If you are in doubt about whether to file an Essex County Law Division answer, don’t assume you do not have to do so – consult with an attorney before it is too late to act!


HOW TO ANSWER AN ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION COMPLAINT – WHAT DO I DO?
To answer an Essex County Law Division complaint, you must act in a specific time frame and in a specific way.   If you are sued in court, you must act – you must take steps to file an Essex County Law Division answer by preparing and filing an answer in 35 days from the date you are served with the complaint and paying the necessary filing fee.  The Essex County Law Division answer is a written response to the lawsuit that specifically admits or denies each allegation stated in the Essex County Law Division complaint and that asks the court to dismiss the lawsuit.   Failure to file an answer on time will normally result in your being defaulted and exposes you to the risk of having a Money judgmententered against you and thereafter, possibly losing money or property.   Each Casehas its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.  It is common for people to file inadequate or incorrect answers to lawsuits and to thereby give up some or many of their rights.  It is important to be truthful and not to make misstatements of facts when answering Essex County Law Division complaints.   It is extremely important that you prepare your answer very carefully and make sure that you include in the Essex County Law Division answer a detailed list of all defenses against the Essex County Law Division complaint that you are responding to, since failure to do so could cause you to lose your case.  Accordingly, when you are sued, you should seriously consider hiring a Lawyer to prepare your Essex County Law Division answer, which is only the beginning of a case.    


CAN I RELY ON ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION ANSWER FORMS PROVIDED BY THE COURT?
To answer an Essex County Law Division complaint, the Essex County Law Division usually provides certain types of Essex County Law Division answer forms.  However, beware relying on Essex County Law Division answer forms to answer an Essex County Law Division complaint – the forms are often deceptively simple, while Lawsuits often are much more complex than they first appear to be.   There is simply no substitute for having your answer prepared by an Essex County Law Division lawyer.  Essex County Law Division answer forms don’t talk and don’t list all the possible defenses to a case.   Essex County Law Division answer forms and their directions rarely, if ever, cover every possible situation, set of facts or legal issue that may arise in an Essex County Law Division lawsuit.  If you fill out the Essex County Law Division form incorrectly or incompletely – like most Pro se litigants do – you may face serious problems at trial defending your case.  


CAN COURT PERSONNEL TELL ME EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW TO ANSWER A COMPLAINT? 
Court personnel are generally not allowed to give plaintiffs and defendants legal advice.  Court personnel are generally not allowed to tell you how to handle your case, including how to answer an Essex County Law Division complaint.  Many court personnel are not lawyers or certified paralegals.  .  If they give you bad advice, the judge will not be likely to offer to ignore the mistake.  Therefore, be careful to avoid relying on the advice of court personnel.  Don’t expect a judge to be convinced if you argue that you relied on the advice of court personnel when incorrectly Answering an Essex County Law Division complaint!


ONCE I PREPARE AN ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION ANSWER, WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
Answering an Essex County Law Division complaint is only one of many tasks you may have to perform before you get to trial!  After your Essex County Law Division answer is prepared, you must file it by either visiting the New Jersey Superior Courthouse or appropriate Court Finance Office in the county where complaint was filed – all of which are located in the county seat of the appropriate county -- or by sending the necessary paperwork to the appropriate county office of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You must pay a fee to file your answer.   Only persons age 18 or older are able to file a Plaintiff answer for themselves (minors must file a answer through their parent or guardian).   Filing fees for court papers are as follows:
Complaint $200.00
Answer, Answer with Crossclaim, Motion (if first paper),
Amended Answer Adding new Defendant $135.00
Answer with Counterclaim or 3rd Party Complaint $200.00
Third Party Complaint or Counterclaim (after answer filed) $65.00
Motion (Pre and Post Judgment) $30.00
Motion for withdrawal of $100 but less than $1,000 $35.00
Motion for withdrawal of $1000 or more $40.00
Transfer Case From Superior Court (Civil Part only) to Law Division $15.00
Security Deposit for Cost (per Defendant or as Order reads) $200.00
Entering Judgment on Bond and Warrant (in lieu of fee required in
N.J.S.A. 22A:2-6) $15.00
Recording Other Instruments $5.00
WHERE IS THE ESSEX COUNTY COURTHOUSE?
Essex County Court Information
Court Information 
Essex County Hall of Records 
465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. 
Newark, NJ 07102 
973-693-6531  


Directions to Essex County Courthouse Complex Veterans Courthouse (previously known as New Courts Building)
NJ Turnpike 
Take Exit 15W to I-280 West. Take I-280 West to Exit 14B (Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd.). Go to the bottom of the ramp and turn left ( State Street). At the next stop sign, turn left. Go straight on MLK, Jr. Blvd., about one mile until you come to Essex County College. There is an overpass across the road (that corner is MLK, Jr. Blvd and W. Market Street). The Historic Courthouse is on your left, the Hall of Records is on the right, and the Veterans Courthouse is directly behind the Hall of Records. A paid parking lot is located on So. Orange Avenue. To reach the lot proceed straight on MLK, Jr. Blvd., turn right onto Springfield Ave. and bear to the right at the merge. This is So. Orange Ave. The parking lot entrance will be on your right.   Garden State Parkway
Take Garden State Parkway to Exit 145. Take I-280 East to Exit 14A – Martin L. King, Jr. Blvd. Go to bottom of ramp and make a right onto MLK, Jr. Blvd. Go straight about one mile to W. Market Street. There is an overpass for Essex County College across the road (corner is MLK, Jr. Blvd. and W. Market Street). The Historic Courthouse is on your left, the Hall of Records is on the right, and the Veterans Courthouse is directly behind the Hall of Records. A paid parking lot is located on So. Orange Ave. To reach the lot proceed straight on MLK, Jr. Blvd. Turn right onto Springfield Ave. and bear to the right at the merge. This is So. Orange Ave. The parking lot entrance will be on your right. 


Routes 22, 24, 1&9 Or I-78 - Newark
Take any of these highways and follow signs for Newark. Follow the exits for Route 21-North / McCarter Highway. Take exit ramp for Broad Street. Proceed on Broad Street until you reach Court Street. Make a left onto Court Street. Go one block and then make a right on Washington Street. Go approximately three blocks and make a left onto Market Street. Bear to the right. Market Street becomes West Market Street. When you reach Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, the Historic Courthouse is on the left. Across the street is the Hall of Records and the Veterans Courthouse is directly behind the Hall of Records. A paid parking lot is located on So. Orange Ave. To reach the lot, turn left on MLK, Jr. Blvd., right on Springfield Ave. and then stay to the right of the merge. This is So. Orange Ave. The parking lot entrance will be on your right. From Bloomfield Avenue (Montclair, Verona, Bloomfield Or Belleville) 
Take Bloomfield Avenue toward Summer Avenue. Turn right onto Summer Avenue. Proceed straight until you reach 7th Ave. Turn left and make a quick right onto MLK Jr. Blvd. Proceed straight approximately one mile to West Market Street. There is an overpass across the road (that corner is MLK Blvd. and W. Market Street). The Historic Courthouse is on the left, the Hall of Records is on the right and the Veterans Courthouse is directly behind the Hall of Records. A paid parking lot is located on So. Orange Ave. Proceed straight on MLK, Jr. Blvd., turn right onto Springfield Ave. and bear to the right at the merge. This is So. Orange Ave. The parking lot entrance will be on your right. 




Directions to Essex County Wilentz Justice Complex - 212 Washington Street, Newark
ROUTE 22, 24, 1 & 9 OR I-78 - NEWARK 
Take the Exit for Route 21 ( Newark). Route 21 becomes McCarter Highway in downtown Newark. From McCarter Highway, turn left onto Raymond Boulevard, then turn left onto Mulberry Street. Turn right onto Market Street. Take Market Street to Washington Street and make a right. The Wilentz Justice Complex is one block up on the right. 
GARDEN STATE PARKWAY
Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 145 to I-280 East. Take Exit 14A for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Make a right at the traffic light at the bottom of the exit ramp onto Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. Take King Boulevard to Market Street and make a left. Take Market Street south for two blocks then make a left onto Washington Street. The Wilentz Justice Complex is the second building on the right. 


NJ TURNPIKE
From the NJ Turnpike, take Exit 15W to I-280 West. Take Exit 14B for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. At bottom of the ramp make a left onto State Street proceed to the stop sign and make a left onto King Blvd. Take this to Market Street and make a left. Take Market Street South two blocks then make a left onto Washington Street. The Wilentz Justice Complex is the second building on the right. ROUTE 3 
From Route 3, take the Exit for Route 21 South ( Newark). Take Route 21 south into downtown Newark where it becomes McCarter Highway. From McCarter Highway, turn right onto Raymond Boulevard, then turn left onto Mulberry Street. Turn right onto Market Street. Take Market Street to Washington Street and make a right. The Wilentz Justice Complex is one block up on the right.


WHAT TOWNS DOES THE ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION SERVICE?
The court handles cases involving cases that arise or plaintiffs or defendants that live in Essex County towns, such as:
Belleville ................... $6.00
Bloomfield....................7.00
Caldwell.....................12.00
Cedar Grove...............11.00
East Orange.................6.00
Essex Fells.................12.00
Fairfield .................... 12.00
Glen Ridge .................. 7.00
Irvington ..................... 6.00
Livingston ................. 11.00
Maplewood .................. 6.00
Millburn ...................... 8.00
Montclair...................10.00
Newark........................4.00
Nutley..........................7.00
Orange.........................6.00
Roseland....................12.00
Short Hills................. 11.00
South Orange ............. 6.00
Verona........................11.00
West Orange ............... 7.00


WHAT DOES THE TERM “PRO SE” MEAN IN A CASE?
To understand how to answer an Essex County Law Division complaint, you must understand your position before the court when you file an answer.  If you are not represented by a lawyer in a Case, you are called a “pro se litigant”.  When you are a pro se litigant, you must always keep in mind that the court is not there to tell you what to do and when to do it!   The court only notifies you of some dates and deadlines but not necessarily all of them.  Answering an Essex County Law Division complaint is only one of many tasks you may have to perform before you get to trial!


DO I AUTOMATICALLY GET A JURY TRIAL OF MY CASE?
To understand how to answer an Essex County Law Division complaint, you must understand the difference between a nonjury and jury trials.  Some trials are nonjury trials, meaning that only a judge decides the Plaintiff trial.  If you file the proper paperwork, you may demand a jury trial – which is usually a trial by 6 jurors.  However, jury trials are much more complex than nonjury trials and usually require much more preparation, including extensive court paperwork.  Even if you don’t ask for a jury, the Essex County Law Division lawsuit may ask for a jury trial.


WHAT IF I IGNORE THE ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT?
Answering an Essex County Law Division complaint should be done to avoid serious negative consequences to you.   If you fail to file an Essex County Law Division answer in time, the court clerk may enter a default against you at the request of the plaintiff or counterclaimant (whoever sued you).  Thereafter, the plaintiff or their Attorney may prepare and file court paperwork asking the Court to enter a default judgment against you.   If the default judgment is entered, it is usually very difficult to undo the damage to you.   If you ignore a default judgment, the following may happen to you:
you may be forced to answer detailed questions about the location and value of your savings, personal property and bank accounts
you may be forced to appear for a deposition (a question and answer session conducted under oath) during which an attorney will ask you questions about the location and value of your savings, personal property and bank accounts
your bank account may be frozen and money in it turned over to the Plaintiff 
some of your wages may be taken from you and turned over to Plaintiff 
your personal property may be seized by the sheriff and sold to satisfy the Plaintiff judgment
a New Jersey lien may be put against a house you own
your credit score may be affected or reduced
Often people wait until their bank account is frozen or until their wages are attached to take action – at that point it is difficult and sometimes too late or very difficult to do anything to successfully stop the Plaintiff debt collection efforts.  It is not uncommon for the Court to refuse to help such latecomers from taking issue with Plaintiff’s debt collection efforts.
 
WHAT IF I AM SUED BY PLAINTIFF IN COURT BUT SOMEONE OWES ME MONEY BECAUSE OF THE SAME SITUATION?
If you are a Defendant and you believe either Plaintiff or someone that isn’t named in the lawsuit owes you money or property based on the same set of facts as those in dispute in the Essex County Law Division lawsuit or facts related to the dispute, in addition to filing a Plaintiff answer, you may also be able to file an Essex County Law Division counterclaim or New Jersey third party complaint to recover the money or property.  An Essex County Law Division counterclaim is a countersuit filed against the plaintiff suing you.   A New Jersey third party complaint is a lawsuit that a party to a lawsuit files against someone or a business that is not already named as a party to the case.   If there are valid facts and legal reasons to support it, a defendant can file their own lawsuit against Plaintiff, called a “counterclaim.   If you are sued and someone who is not named in the lawsuit is partially or totally responsible for the Plaintiff debt or for damages you suffered that involve the same facts alleged in the Essex County Law Division lawsuit and there are valid facts and legal reasons to support it, you may be able to file your own complaint, called a “Essex County Law Division third party complaint”.  By doing so, defendant names parties not originally named to the Essex County Law Division complaint as additional parties to the Essex County Law Division case.  Essex County Law Division counterclaims and Essex County Law Division third party complaints must be prepared in writing and filed with the appropriate court where the original complaint is being heard normally require extra fees above the cost of filing an answer to the original complaint.  In the Caseof an Essex County Law Division third party complaint, once properly filed, the Essex County Law Division normally serves it on the Law Division plaintiff.  Forms may be available at the appropriate office of the Essex County Law Division and via the worldwide web.  However, neither Law Division court forms, websites nor advice from court personnel are good substitutes for a competent attorney’s legal services.  Each Casehas its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges.  It is very common for people to file inadequate or incorrect Essex County Law Division complaints or Essex County Law Division counterclaims that result in the Essex County Law Division complaints or Law Division answers to Essex County Law Division complaints or counterclaims being rejected by the court or being dismissed by the court after filing and before or after trial because of procedural deficiencies.  It is important to be truthful and not to make misstatements of facts when answering Essex County Law Division complaints and filing counterclaims and Essex County Law Division third party complaints.   It is extremely important that you prepare your answer, counterclaim or third party complaint carefully and make sure that you include in the documents a detailed list of all reasons why you may have a right to win your Essex County Law Division case, since failure to do so could cause you to lose your Essex County Law Division case.  Accordingly, when you are sued and when you want to file a counterclaim or third party complaint, you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer to prepare your response to the complaint or counterclaim, to prepare written requests for information to the Law Division plaintiff or Law Division defendant that sued you (discussed further below) and if you can afford it, to have a lawyer represent you in court.  After your Essex County Law Division counterclaim or Essex County Law Division third party complaint is prepared, you must file it by either visiting the New Jersey Superior Courthouse or appropriate Court Finance Office in the county where complaint was filed – all of which are located in the county seat of the appropriate county -- or by sending the necessary of Law Division paperwork to the appropriate county office of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You must pay a fee to file the document.


WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I ANSWER THE ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION COMPLAINT?
Answering a lawsuit is only one of many tasks you may have to perform before you get to trial!  Many people incorrectly think that all they have to do in a case is to file an answer and then wait for the Plaintiff trial date.   However, that is rarely the case.   Plaintiff may serve you with written requests for information called interrogatories, notices to produce (sometimes also called requests for production of documents) and requests for admissions.  Plaintiff sends these requests to you – usually by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested.  If you fail to answer these requests in writing or fails to answer the requests with sufficient thoroughness, the Court may punish the delinquent party, such as by throwing their complaint out of court or suppressing their answer.  Plaintiff request for admissions are particularly dangerous if they go unanswered, since all the questions are considered admitted and therefore conclusively proven against you!   Many people get Plaintiff interrogatories or Plaintiff request for admissions and answer the Plaintiff interrogatories or Plaintiff request for admissions incorrectly or not at all.   Failure to timely and carefully prepare and serve thorough answers to Plaintiff interrogatories or Plaintiff request for admissions could result in your losing your Plaintiff case.   To make sure you answer Plaintiff interrogatories or Plaintiff request for admissions correctly, you should seriously consider hiring a Lawyer to prepare your answers to Plaintiff interrogatories and your answers to Plaintiff admissions and if you can afford it, to have a Lawyer represent you in court.  You can also use a Lawyer to prepare your own set of interrogatories and document requests.  Why do that?  To find out if the plaintiff actually has enough proof to win their case.  If they don’t answer the questions, you can get their lawsuit thrown out of court.  If their answers show they have no proof to prove the lawsuit, you can make a motion to enter judgment against the plaintiff without having to waste time with a trial at which you might lose your case.   Better to win your case with a motion made before trial then to take your chances at trial! 


WHAT IS A MOTION TO SUPPRESS ANSWER?
Answering an Essex County Law Division complaint is only one of many tasks you may have to perform before you get to trial!  If you are not careful, your Answer could be set aside by the court leaving you vulnerable to a judgment.  Many people ask themselves what is a Motion to suppress answer?  Do I really have to answer such a motion?   A Motion to suppress answer is a motion to suppress your answer so that the court can ignore your defense to the Essex County Law Division lawsuit.   In many cases, if the Motion to suppress is granted and Plaintiff makes a motion to suppress your answer with prejudice in the appropriate time frame, it could lead to Plaintiff winning their case against you by getting an Essex County Law Division judgment in their favor.   Accordingly, you should never ignore a motion to suppress answer but instead should take it very seriously.  If Plaintiff makes such a motion against you, seriously consider hiring a Lawyer to prepare your answers to Plaintiff interrogatories and to answer the motion before it is too late!


WHAT IS A MOTION TO STRIKE ANSWER?
Answering an Essex County Law Division complaint is only one of many tasks you may have to perform before you get to trial!  If you are not careful, your Answer could be set aside by the court leaving you vulnerable to a judgment.  Many people ask themselves what is a Motion to strike answer?  Do I really have to answer such a motion?   A Motion to strike answer is just like a motion to suppress your answer.   The Motion to strike your answer is filed so that the court can ignore your defense to the Essex County Law Division lawsuit.   In many cases, if the Motion to strike is granted and Plaintiff makes a motion to strike your answer with prejudice in the appropriate time frame, it could lead to Plaintiff winning their case against you by getting an Essex County Law Division judgment in their favor.   Accordingly, you should never ignore a motion to strike answer but instead should take it very seriously.  If Plaintiff makes such a motion against you, seriously consider hiring a Lawyer to prepare your answers to Plaintiff interrogatories and to answer the motion before it is too late!


WHY SHOULD YOU CONDISER ESSEX COUNTY LAW DIVISION ANSWER HELP FROM AN ATTORNEY?
Handling your Case wrong from the beginning may only cost you more money and time in the end!!   Do it right the first time by seeking Essex County Law Division answer help From an experienced Essex County Law Division lawyer!  Many Jersey pro se parties make the mistake of not consulting a lawyer before filing Court papers only to later learn that they made serious mistakes that could cause them to lose their case.  Writing a proper answer can be a very difficult task.  Why not seek Essex County Law Division answer help to make sure you get the job done right?   Let an affordable Essex County Law Division attorney help you prepare your answer to a complaint.    If you are sued in Law Division, you shall be named to a lawsuit or complaint or counterclaim and must file a written response to the complaint or counterclaim, called an “answer”.   Failure to do so will normally result in your being defaulted and exposes you to the risk of having a money judgment entered against you and thereafter, possibly losing money or property.  To avoid this from happening to you, you must prepare and file an answer with the court.    Let an experienced Essex County Law Division lawyer give you Essex County Law Division answer help by preparing pro se answers for your lawsuit.   Don’t let an Essex County Law Division complaint go unanswered or take a chance doing it wrong – get Essex County Law Division answer help.  New Jersey employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees.  Working at the New Jersey Court as a non-judge is not the same as practicing law.   Let the Law Office of Paul DePetris help you with your case.  You do not always have to pay expensive legal fees to get Essex County Law Division answer help.  To receive a no cost phone consultation about affordable Essex County Law Division answer help, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris.


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