How much does it cost to file an extension of time?
There is no filing fee to file a Motion and Order to extend time to Answer a lawsuit in North Carolina. This makes it a good practice to go ahead and file an extension of time in every lawsuit, but especially for credit card lawsuits as negotiating a settlement usually takes longer than 30 days and you certainly do not want to miss a deadline to file an Answer and lose by default!
Do I need a lawyer to file an extension of time?
No lawyer is required to request a 30 day extension to answer a Complaint in North Carolina. In fact, most legal filings including Motions and Answers can be filed without a lawyer. There are two Extension of Time examples provided at the end of this blog article to provide an idea of what to file. Before filing any paperwork at the courthouse it is advisable to confirm there is no local form that is preferred or required. Many counties in North Carolina have local forms available for download on the AOC website.
Extension of Time to Answer Lawsuit in NC
An extension of time to file a written Answer essentially provides an extra 30 days to file a written Answer at the courthouse. Although not guaranteed or automatic, filing an extension of time is common practice and is routinely granted in North Carolina.
Why file an extension of time to Answer a Complaint?
For most lawsuits a defendant is open to losing via default judgment if a written Answer is not filed within 30 days of service by Sheriff or certified mail. This time period is rather short for someone who does not already have a lawyer on retainer. Filing an extension of time allows an unrepresented party additional time to hire a lawyer to help them file a proper Answer raising all possible defenses and counterclaims. It is important to realize that many defenses such as the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that must be raised in the written Answer filed at the courthouse or else that defense is waived!
How do I count the days to answer a lawsuit?
You only have 30 days from the date you were served to request your extension. This is 30 days total- Not 30 business days. A great website to help you count days is www.timeanddate.com where you can enter the date you were served and simply add 60 days to that date to find your extension deadline. If the deadline falls on a day the courthouse is closed such as a holiday or weekend you have until the next day to file your written Answer. See NCRCP Rule 6(a) below.
(a) Computation. - In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by these rules, by order of court, or by any applicable statute, including rules, orders or statutes respecting publication of notices, the day of the act, event, default or publication after which the designated period of time begins to run is not to be included. The last day of the period so computed is to be included, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday when the courthouse is closed for transactions, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday when the courthouse is closed for transactions. When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than seven days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays shall be excluded in the computation. A half holiday shall be considered as other days and not as a holiday.
Can I file a second extension of time to Answer a lawsuit in NC?
Although Rule 6 of the of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure does theoretically allow for multiple extensions only one extension is usually given without scrutiny as a matter of standard practice. Rather than risk being denied a second extension it is ually best to just go ahead and file a written Answer as a motion to amend that Answer is always an option if necessary. See NCRCP Rule 6(b) below:
(b) Enlargement. - When by these rules or by a notice given thereunder or by order of court an act is required or allowed to be done at or within a specified time, the court for cause shown may at any time in its discretion with or without motion or notice order the period enlarged if request therefor is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed or as extended by a previous order. Upon motion made after the expiration of the specified period, the judge may permit the act to be done where the failure to act was the result of excusable neglect. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this rule, the parties may enter into binding stipulations without approval of the court enlarging the time, not to exceed in the aggregate 30 days, within which an act is required or allowed to be done under these rules, provided, however, that neither the court nor the parties may extend the time for taking any action under Rules 50(b), 52, 59(b), (d), (e), 60(b), except to the extent and under the conditions stated in them.
Can I file an Answer if I missed the deadline for a lawsuit in NC?
If you were served more than 30 days ago and missed the deadline to request an extension of time you may stil be able to file a written Answer to the lawsuit. Ordinarily a defendant can still answer a lawsuit as long as no entry of default has been entered by the Judge or clerk. That being said, it is risky to wait to file an Answer after the deadline date as you never know how quickly a Default Judgment can be entered against you. If you are past your deadline to file a written Answer you should speak with a lawyer ASAP as it may even be possible to set aside an entry of default or default judgment if you move quickly.
Mecklenburg County Motion for Extension of Time to Answer a Complaint
In Charlotte the clerk located on the 3rd floor of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse will generally sign your extension of time on the spot without actually pulling the file to verify the service date. This means you will generally leave with your signed extension Order in hand. Of course you need to take 3 copies as the clerk will keep one copy for the file and return two copies to you. One copy should be kept for your records and one copy should be mailed to the lawyer for the Plaintiff. If the Plaintiff does not have a lawyer then you would simply mail a copy directly to the address provided by the Plaintiff on the Complaint.
Union County Motion for Extension of Time to Answer a Complaint
In Monroe, North Carolina you generally have to take 3 copies of your motion with a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) to leave at the courthouse. After you leave the clerk will pull the file to verify the service date before signing the extension and returning your 2 copies back in the envelope you provided. The civil filing department is located on the first floor of the Union County Judicial Center in downtown Monroe.
Can a motion for extension of time be denied?
A motion for an extension of time is not guaranteed; however, they are generally granted upon the first request. This is true for both lawyers and unrepresented parties. Thirty days to file a written Answer is rather short considering most people need time to locate and hire an attorney and the attorney usually needs time to speak with the client about the facts of the case, review the court file, and draft a written response.
* The Forms below are for illustrative purposes only. They should not be relied upon or filed with the Court. Please seek legal counsel before filing anything with the Court.