When you need more time to respond to a pleading filed in a foreclosure case in Florida, you can request an extension of time to respond. You have 20 days to respond to a complaint filed against you, and if you do not answer within the 20 days, the plaintiff – the person suing you – will move the court to enter a default judgment against you. If a default is entered, the plaintiff wins the case, even if they ask for things that are not true. You may also be required to submit documentation during the discovery process, and sometimes, you won’t have it on time because a third party is in possession of the documents.
Copy the heading of the foreclosure lawsuit into a new document. The heading should be boldface and in all capital letters, except for the title of the plaintiff and defendant, which should be boldface and lowercase. The heading contains the court, its jurisdiction, the parties’ names, the case number and the division.
Center the title – “Motion to Extend Time to Respond to [document you are responding to]” – under the heading. Boldface, underline and capitalize every letter in the title. Set your word processor to double-space the rest of the document.
Write the introduction paragraph. This paragraph introduces you and the title of the document. For example: “Comes now, the Defendant, [your name], and files this, his Motion to Extend Time to Respond to [document], and further states: ... .”
Number each paragraph in the body of the pleading. Each paragraph should have one request. For example: “1. The Plaintiff filed the request for documents on or about [date]. 2. The Defendant does not have certain documents in her possession. 3. The Defendant needs an additional 30 days to obtain the documents, review the documents and provide the documents to the plaintiff.”
Center the title “Certificate of Good Faith” below the body of the pleading. Capitalize, boldface and underline the title. Do not number the title or the paragraph below it. Write the good-faith statement -- for example: “I HEREBY CERTIFY that this Motion for Enlargement of Time to Respond to [document] is made in good faith and is not intended to delay or hinder these proceedings.”
Center the title “Certificate of Service” below the certificate of good faith. Capitalize, boldface and underline the title. The certificate of service tells the court that you mailed a true and correct copy of the pleading to the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney if the plaintiff has one -- for example: “I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been forwarded to [plaintiff’s name and address, or attorney’s name and address] on this [xx] day of [month], [year] via U.S. Mail."
Sign the document. Print your name and address under your signature. Make two copies of the document. File the original with the clerk of court, then mail a copy to the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney. The last copy is for your records.
Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.