What happens if I do not file an answer in my NJ foreclosure case?

Dec 31, 2019 | New Jersey Foreclosure Defense

What happens if I do not file an answer in my NJ foreclosure case?

This firm practices foreclosure defense.  We want to answer a question a common question we get about foreclosure defense, “What if I don’t file an answer in my New Jersey foreclosure case what will happen?”

If you don’t file an answer the matter is going to be uncontested foreclosure case. What that means is that the bank is basically going to be able to proceed forward without having anyone else in the case.  At this point you are probably 4 months behind on your mortgage, and may be looking for help.  Under federal law, in most cases, a bank or lender cannot start the foreclosure process until you as the borrower is over 120 days’ delinquent on your mortgage.

Without an answer you do not get to contest the foreclosure matter in the New Jersey state Court or even slow the foreclosure process down. You do not get to respond to allegations or put in counterclaims. Without filing an answer it really abbreviates the time frame that the foreclosure process lasts. As the defendant in foreclosure you are sitting on your rights and letting the matter proceed as fast as possible. You are not alone in the foreclosure process.  Foreclosure’s are down across the US, but NJ still leads the country with properties in some form of foreclosure in New Jersey.

How to Reinstate the Mortgage Before the Foreclosure Sale in New Jersey

You may be trying to reinstate your mortgage, so you may not be planning to answer, however you may not be able to reinstate.  “Reinstating” your mortgage  is when you catch up on the missed payments, plus fees and costs, to stop the foreclosure. If you are 4 months behind on your mortgage payment, reinstating is probably not an option N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:50-57  (Curing of default) allows you as the borrower to cure the default on your mortgage at any time up until the entry of a final judgment.

If you don’t file an answer the first thing that’s going to happen is that after the 35 days the attorney for the bank will default you. Under New Jersey Court rule 4:6-1 you get 35 days to answer the foreclosure complaint that is why the bank’s attorney has to wait to file. They’ll ask the court for a default judgment. It’s a simple filing papers with the court and they ask the clerk of the court to default you.

Should I use the New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation Program?

If you are facing foreclosure you will get a notice about the New Jersey Mediation Program with the Foreclosure Summons and Complaint.  Pursuant to N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:50-58 If you respond to the notice within 10 days with the intent to cure your mortgage default, the bank is required to give you an additional 45 days before it seeks an entry of final judgment. So, this is an opportunity for you to cure the default and get the time to do it.  You may also be able to come up with another solution in mediation, so yes you should apply for the New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation program.  You may even be able to get a loan modification, Short Sale or Short Pay off.

However, once you’re defaulted. You cannot file an answer without filing a motion to vacate the default. If you attempt to file an answer, it’ll be rejected and you’ll be told you need to vacate the default. Which means you’d have to file a motion to vacate.

How to Vacate  a Default Judgement in a NJ Foreclosure Case

There are certain grounds that you have to argue. You have to show why you didn’t file the answer for good cause. Let’s say you want to argue that you had a good cause not to answer and what the court considers a meritorious defenses. If you just want to tell the court in your own words what happened, you may be waiving your rights. The court at times is looking for the “magic language” of a legal brief that gives them the authority to rule a certain way.

A meritorious defenses is a defense that shows that have a way to counter some of the allegations in the complaint. That your arguments have merit. If you argue the wrong way, you will lose.

So that’s what happens and then then after you’ve been faulted.

So, now that you you didn’t answer and are defaulted. The next step by the bank’s attorney will be to ask for the final judgment. This is more filing with the court. Not all bank’s attorneys are infallible and at times you may get extra time between these filings as things happen.  Without a defense the next stop is a sheriff sale will be scheduled.

So there’s not much room left to maneuver after no answer has been filed. So that’s a simple answer to the question: “Now what happens if I don’t follow an answer in New Jersey to my foreclosure case.”

If you know that the your time to answer you foreclosure is running out but it’s not yet run out you still have options, and even if it has run out there are options. The NJ laws around foreclosure change all of the time.  Do not rely on the internet to make any legal decisions.  Talk to a foreclosure defense attorney for Free today and go over all of your options.  If you have any questions in general we are here to help you through this difficult time.  Devise a strategy to keep your home or walk you through ways to sell your home or even rebuild your credit after foreclosure. Call 973-200-1111 or email

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