If you are involved in litigation, seek legal counsel.
It is possible to represent yourself, but not always the best option.
There are free attorney services available.
The Defendant responds to the Summons and Complaint by filing a Notice of Appearance or an Answer with the Court Clerk and serving a copy of it on the plaintiff (or, if the plaintiff is represented by a lawyer, on the plaintiff’s lawyer).
- The Notice of Appearance shows the appearance of an attorney on behalf of the defendant OR it shows the individual acting on their own behalf as a pro se litigant.
- The Answer contains a statement of the Defendant’s responses to each of the plaintiff’s claims.
The Defendant must respond to the Summons and Complaint within twenty (20) calendar days of receiving personal service. [For a Summons and Complaint served outside the state of Washington, the specified response time is sixty (60) calendar days.] CR 12(a). When calculating your days, do not count the day the Defendant was served. Count calendar days, including holidays and weekends.
If you do not file and serve an Answer, the court will enter a Default Judgment against you, giving the Plaintiff everything they asked for in their Complaint.