If I defaulted by not answering a foreclosure complaint, can I still raise defenses later on in the action?
It depends on the facts of the case. Generally, if the borrower lives in the house that is the subject of the foreclosure action then the law permits the borrower to serve an answer within 30 days after the first foreclosure settlement conference. This could be many months after the time to answer expired. If the answer is not served within this time then the borrower will need to make a formal motion to set aside their default. In order to succeed on such a motion, the borrower must show a reason for their delay and a meritorious defense to the foreclosure action. If however, the borrower was not properly served with the summons and complaint, the borrower does not have to show a meritorious defense and must prove that service was defective. There are too many technical issues to address here. Obviously, it is always best to protect one's rights by retaining a foreclosure defense attorney asap.
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Arnold M. Bottalico is an experienced Long Island, NY foreclosure attorney with over 25 years of experience, and he welcomes your questions and comments.