So you have not made a mortgage payment in months and get served a foreclosure lawsuit—what now?  You have 20 days from your receipt of that court summons to file an Answer…or do nothing.

If you DO NOT file a valid Answer with the court within those 20 days, a Summary Judgment Request may be filed against you, and you give up your right to contest the foreclosure.  Once a Final Summary Judgment is entered, a foreclosure sale date is set, then your house is sold on the courthouse steps, a Certificate of Title is issued to the new owner, and you will be served an eviction notice.

If you DO file a valid Answer with the court within those 20 days, you have a chance at a better outcome.

(Note:  If you have not made your mortgage payments just to live in a free house, the judge probably will not be inclined to rule in your favor.  Getting a free house from a foreclosure proceeding happens about as often as popsicle sightings on the sun.)

With the help of a HUD-certified counselor or an attorney, you can file a valid Answer with the court, and pursue a strategy with the best benefit, given your circumstances.  You may need a HUD-certified counselor to help you with a mortgage modification.  Or you may need an attorney to address the legal aspect of your case while you wait for a short sale to be completed.

The Answer to a Foreclosure Summons is a choice point, which may lead to a better outcome.  Seek a competent third-party professional—a HUD-certified counselor or an attorney—for help in filing your Answer properly, and for making a plan toward your best benefit.