How to File an Answer to a Foreclosure Complaint
Revised 08/2016, CN 11380 - How to File an Answer to a Foreclosure Complaint page 2 of 14
Things to Think About Before You Represent Yourself in Court
Try to Get a Lawyer
The court system can be confusing and it is a good
idea to get a lawyer if you can. The law, the proofs
necessary to present your case, and the procedural
rules governing foreclosure cases are complex.
Most likely your opponent will be represented by a
lawyer. It is recommended that you make every
effort to obtain the assistance of a lawyer. If you
cannot afford a lawyer, you may contact the legal
services program in your county to see if you
qualify for free legal services. Their telephone
number can be found in your local yellow pages
under “Legal Aid” or “Legal Services.” A
Directory is also located online on njcourts.gov.
If you do not qualify for free legal services and need
help in locating an attorney, you may contact the
bar association in your county. That number can
also be found in your local yellow pages. Most
county bar associations have a Lawyer Referral
Service. The County Bar Lawyer Referral Service
can supply you with the names of attorneys in your
area who handle foreclosure matters and who may
be willing to consult with you at a reduced fee.
There are also organizations of minority lawyers
throughout New Jersey, as well as organizations of
lawyers who handle specialized types of cases. Ask
your county court staff for a list of lawyer referral
services that include these organizations.
If you decide to proceed without an attorney, these
materials explain the procedures that must be
followed to have your papers properly filed and
considered by the court. Failure to follow
procedures can result in a delay with processing
These materials do not provide information on the
law governing your claims or defenses; information
on how to conduct pretrial discovery; information
on alternative dispute resolution procedures, such as
arbitration or mediation, that may be available or
required in your case; information on the kinds of
evidence you need to prove your claims or defense
at trial; or information on other procedural and
evidentiary rules governing foreclosure actions.
What You Should Expect If You Represent
While you have the right to represent yourself in
court, you should not expect special treatment, help,
or attention from the court. The following is a list
of some things the court staff can and cannot do for
you. Please read it carefully before asking the court
staff for help.
• We can explain and answer questions about
how the court works.
• We can tell you what the requirements are to
have your case considered by the court.
• We can give you some information from your
• We can provide you with samples of court
forms that are available.
• We can provide you with guidance on how to
fill out forms.
• We can usually answer questions about court
• We cannot give you legal advice. Only your
lawyer can give you legal advice.
• We cannot tell you whether or not you should
bring your case to court.
• We cannot give you an opinion about what will
happen if you bring your case to court.
• We cannot recommend a lawyer, but we can
provide you with the telephone number of a
local lawyer referral service.
• We cannot talk to the judge for you about what
will happen in your case.
• We cannot let you talk to the judge outside of
• We cannot change an order issued by a judge.
Keep Copies of All Papers
Make and keep copies of all completed forms and
documents related to your case.