When is an exemption claim motion due?

Under NCGS 1C-1603(e), one must file a responsive motion to a notice of right to have exemptions designated "within 20 days after notice of his rights was served."

The consequence of not meeting this deadline may be severe, as NCGS 1C-1603(e)(3) provides that failure to properly respond results in waiver of statutory exemptions.

A few aspects of this deadline are worth highlighting. For one, the 20 days refers to calendar days, not business days. Therefore, a motion will be generally due one day short of three weeks after service was completed. (See also Rule 6 of the NC Rules of Civil Procedure. Second, the due date is calculated from service date, which is not necessarily the same date as the sheriff or clerk received the notice.

Complying with the deadline requires both (1) filing the motion with the court and (2) serving the motion on the creditor. Filing the motion means actually turning it into the clerk of court to be stamped by the deadline. Service on the creditor is typically accomplished by first-class mailing a copy of the motion to the creditor's attorney the same day as the motion is filed.

Deadlines are a serious matter in which mistakes are not easily fixed. If there is any doubt about a deadline, confer with an attorney or court official.

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