Re: Proper Response to Summons
The summons does have to be answered in the time limit allowed or they will get a default judgment against the debtor. (your family member)
There should be instructions on how to answer the summons - answer the questions truthfully - answers might just be agree or deny. If there is a defense, your family member would add that (ie SOL has elapsed, not sure valid debt, etc.) The court clerk can help with answering a summons. (how to answer) However, they cannot tell you *what* to answer. They can't give legal advice.
If the debt is valid & the SOL has not elapsed, the plaintiff's attorney can be contacted before going to court to see if a settlement can be reached - possibly for a lesser amount and/or payment plan.
If they would get a judgment against your family member & all their assets/income is exempt from seizure, then there will be nothing for the creditor to get, at this time anyway.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.