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A Guide to Responding to a Small Claims Debt Collection Case in Wisconsin

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | Oct 27, 2023

Facing a small claims debt collection case can be a daunting experience, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can navigate the process effectively. If you find yourself in this situation in Wisconsin, understanding how to respond is crucial. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to answer a small claims debt collection case in the Badger State.

  1. Review the Summons and Complaint: The first step is to carefully review the summons and complaint you receive from the court. Understand the allegations made against you, the amount being claimed, and the deadline for responding. Take note of any specific instructions provided by the court regarding the response process.

  2. Gather Documentation and Evidence: Collect all relevant documentation pertaining to the debt in question. This may include contracts, invoices, payment receipts, and any communication related to the debt. Organize these documents in a clear and accessible manner to support your response.

  3. File an Answer with the Court: Prepare a written response, commonly known as an "Answer," to the complaint filed against you. In Wisconsin, you typically have 20 days from the date you received the summons to file your response with the small claims court. Clearly address each allegation made in the complaint and provide any defenses or counterclaims you may have.

  4. Attend the Court Hearing: After filing your Answer, you may be required to attend a court hearing. Be present on the scheduled date and dress appropriately. Bring all relevant documents and evidence to support your case. Be prepared to present your side of the story to the judge and respond to any questions or concerns raised during the hearing.

  5. Present Your Defense: During the court hearing, clearly articulate your defense based on the evidence and documentation you have gathered. Provide any relevant information that supports your position and refutes the claims made by the plaintiff. Stay composed and respectful throughout the proceedings to present yourself in a favorable light.

  6. Negotiate a Settlement, if Possible: Consider negotiating a settlement with the plaintiff before the trial or during the court hearing. If you can reach a mutually acceptable agreement, it may save you time, money, and the stress of a prolonged legal battle. Ensure any settlement terms are clearly documented and agreed upon by both parties.

  7. Understand the Judgment and Next Steps: After the court hearing, the judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented. If the judgment is in your favor, ensure that the terms are clear and enforceable. If the judgment is against you, understand the implications and any payment arrangements or deadlines outlined by the court.

  8. Explore Legal Assistance, if Needed: If you're unsure about how to proceed or require legal guidance, consider consulting a qualified attorney experienced in small claims cases in Wisconsin. They can provide valuable advice, representation, and help you navigate the legal complexities of the case.

By following these steps and being proactive in your approach, you can effectively respond to a small claims debt collection case in Wisconsin. Preparation, documentation, and a clear understanding of the legal process are key to achieving a favorable outcome and protecting your rights during the proceedings.

Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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