If you fail to pay your mortgage over a significant period of time, your lender will think about foreclosing your property at some point. The process of foreclosing your property will start when the lender files paperwork with the court in the place where the property is located. Thereafter, you will receive a copy of the lender’s complaint and the court’s summons.
By the time these documents are served to you, the law gives you twenty (20) days to submit a response in court, if you fail to do so, a default judgment will be rendered against you. Therefore, it is imperative that you file your response as soon as possible once served.
If you decide to hire a Long Island foreclosure defense lawyer, your first step is to meet him. If you decide to self-represent, you have to file a Motion for Extension of Time immediately. This will allow you to request for more time from the court to prepare and submit your answer. If your request is approved, the law will give you additional thirty (30) days to file your response.
Next step is to check out the complaint and the documents attached to it. Examine it to find possible deficiencies, defenses and challenges that you can raise such as improper service or lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Or, if you have requested for a loan modification program and the lender committed some violations on the agreement it can be raised in an Answer as an Affirmative Defense. Consider that substantive defenses should be raised in your Answer, while the procedural defenses should be stated on your Motion to Dismiss.
After filing the appropriate pleadings, wait for the lender’s response. If you have filed your answer, the lender will make a response against those affirmative defenses; on the other hand, if you submitted a motion to dismiss in court, they will schedule a time to hear the Motion.
Once the lender files his response, the case will now move to the discovery stage where you may request for documents from the lender such as original closing file, disclosures, assignments, original note and other necessary papers required. You may also request the Lender to answer interrogatories and obtain depositions from relevant witnesses. This stage is quite slow and tedious, so you have to be patient.
Long Island Foreclosure Defense cases will move into the pre-trial stage, once the discovery process is over. At this stage, the lender may move for setting the summary judgment without going through a trial. You will only be able to avoid summary judgment if you have submitted the proper defenses in court. Once the hearing is scheduled, it is very imperative that you or your lawyer will appear in court, otherwise, judgment will be rendered against you and your property will be scheduled for sale.
If the motion of the lender is denied, the case will be docketed or will move on to the pre-trial conference and finally to the trial stage. During the trial, you and the lender would be required to produce all the documents and witnesses that will support each claim or defense that you or your lender have. After the trial, the court will make a ruling. If the decision is in your favor, the cased will be dismissed, but if it rules for the lender, a sale date will be entered for the foreclosure of the property. However, the law provides you the right to redeem your property if you are able to pay your debt.
The litigation process of foreclosure cases can be complex and protracted, thus, it is important to contact an experienced Long Island Foreclosure Defense attorney if you are served so that you can get the best chance possible of saving your home, protecting your legal rights and delaying the process.