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Motions – Requesting an Order from the Court & Opposing a Motion

What can I do when I need to talk to the judge?

There are only two ways to communicate with the judge:

  1. In person, at a hearing scheduled by the judge, with both sides present; OR
  2. On paper, written in a motion that was given to the other side so that the judge can hear their side of the story too.

You cannot have one-sided (called ex parte) communications with the judge, for example:

Ex parte communications are forbidden because they are unfair. Both sides in the case have the right to know that something is going on in court and each has the right to tell his or her side of the story. The court must hear from both sides before it can make a decision.

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What is a motion?

A motion is the paper you must file to ask a judge to make a ruling or take some other action. A motion is the first step in the three-step process called motion practice, which is controlled by Civil Rule 77 PDF.

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What is motion practice?

Motion practice is the three-step process to ask the judge to order something in the case. First, the moving party, i.e. the person who is asking for a court order, files a motion, asking the court to order something specific. Second, the other party files a response or opposition. Third, the moving party can reply to the opposition.

Summary of Motion Practice

Step # Who files? What form? When?
1
The moving party
(the person who needs a court order)
- Motion
- Order on Motion
File when you need a court order
2
The non-moving party
(party who received the Motion)
- Response to Motion
- Order on Motion
These are due 13 days after the motion was mailed, or 10 days if it was hand delivered
3
The moving party Reply This is due 8 days after the Response to Motion was mailed, or 5 days if it was hand delivered

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How do I file a motion?

To file a motion you must fill out 2 forms:

1. Motion, CIV-805 [Fill-In PDF]

This form is where you tell the judge the whole story and why you should get what you say you want. Be sure to:

2. Order on Motion, CIV-820 [Fill-In PDF]

The order is the document you are asking the judge to sign. It tells anyone who reads it exactly what the judge has ordered in very simple, clear terms. Be sure to:

Do NOT sign and date the order. If the judge agrees with your Motion, he or she may sign your order, or may change it or sign a different order.

These forms, and a Reply (discussed below), can also be found in the Motion Packet, CIV-800 PDF.

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How do I serve the other party?

After you fill out the forms, make 2 copies. Keep 1 copy for your records.

Mail or hand-deliver a copy to the opposing party (or their lawyer if represented). Send your copies by first class mail or deliver them in person.

Fill out the Certificate of Service section on the bottom of the original Motion, stating how and when you provided the opposing party with a copy. File the original at the courthouse.

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How do I oppose a motion?

If you were served with a motion, you have the right to respond and tell the judge whether you agree or disagree with the moving party's request. You are called the non-moving party.

You have 13 days from the time the motion was postmarked to file your Response. If the motion was hand delivered, you have 10 days to respond.

You will fill out 2 forms:

1. Response to Motion, CIV-810 [Fill-In PDF]

This form is where you tell the judge if you oppose the motion and what you want. Be sure to:

2. Order on Motion, CIV-820 [Fill-In PDF]

The order is the document you are asking the judge to sign. It tells anyone who reads it exactly what the judge has ordered in very simple, clear terms. Be sure to:

Do NOT sign and date the order. If the judge agrees with your Response to Motion, he or she may sign your order, change it or sign a different order.

These forms can also be found in the Response to Motion Packet for Civil Cases, CIV-808 PDF.

You have 13 days from the time the motion was mailed to you, or 10 days from the time the motion was hand delivered to you, to file your Response to Motion. Count every day. If it ends up due on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it is due the next day the court is open. Remember, the courts close at noon Fridays.

Once you have filled out the forms, along with the Certificate of Service section, you must file them at the courthouse.

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How do I serve the response on the other party?

After you fill out the forms, make 2 copies. Keep 1 copy for your records.

Mail or hand-deliver a copy to the opposing party (or their lawyer if represented). Send your copies by first class mail or deliver them in person.

Fill out the Certificate of Service section on the bottom of the original Response to Motion, stating how you provided the opposing party with a copy. File the original at the courthouse.

The other party has 8 days to reply to your Response to Motion if you mail it. If you hand-deliver the Response to Motion, they only have 5 days. Then the paperwork will go to the judge, who will make the decision. If the judge thinks a hearing is needed, you will receive a notice telling you when and where to appear.

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How do I reply to a response?

If you filed the Motion, you can reply to the Response to Motion if you think it is necessary. But, it is not required.

If you decide to reply, you must file it within 8 days of when the Response to Motion was mailed to you. If it was hand delivered, you have 5 days to reply. Only count weekdays that are not court holidays. If it ends up due on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it is due the next day the court is open. Remember, the courts close at noon Fridays.

You must serve the other party with a copy of the Reply and fill out the Certificate of Service section stating how you served the other party. You can read more about serving the other party.

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How do I calculate filing deadlines?

Response to Motion: You have 13 days to respond to a motion if it was mailed to you from the day it was postmarked. You have 10 days if it was hand delivered. Count every day. If it ends up due on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it is due the next day the court is open. Remember, the courts close at noon Fridays.

Reply: You have 8 days to reply to a Response to Motion if it was mailed from the date it was postmarked. You have 5 days if it was hand delivered. Only count weekdays that are not court holidays. If it ends up due on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it is due the next day the court is open. Remember, the courts close at noon Fridays.

See Civil Rule 6(a) PDF.

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Is there a different deadline to respond to a motion that is served before the Answer to the Complaint is due?

Yes. If someone files a motion before the date an Answer to a Complaint is due, the timeline to respond to the motion is:

For example, if the Plaintiff serves the Defendant with a Complaint and a motion on May 4, the response to the motion is determined by the Answer due date which is 20 days later. That means the response to the motion is due on May 24 (if the Plaintiff served the motion documents by a process server or hand delivery) or May 27 (if the Plaintiff served the motion documents by certified mail because the rule adds 3 more days for mail delivery).

In another example, the Plaintiff serves the Defendant with a Complaint on May 4 by mail and later serves the motion for interim orders on May 20. The response is due 10 days + 3 days for mailing on June 2, because that is later than the date the Defendant’s Answer is due on May 24.

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Can I file by mail?

Yes, you can mail your motion papers to the court for filing by 1st class US mail. You need to include all of the forms you have filled out.

Make 2 copies of all papers before you mail the originals to the court. Keep 1 copy for your records. You will need 1 copy to serve the Defendant. You can read more about serving the other party.

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Will there be a hearing on the motion?

If either party wants a hearing about the motion, that party must tell the court by writing it in the Motion or Response to Motion. The court is not required to have a hearing on most motions, so the motion or response must include all the facts and arguments. Sometimes even if the parties do not ask for a hearing, the judge may schedule one to better understand the issues. If there will be a hearing, the court will send both parties a Notice that includes the date, time and location.

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When will the judge decide the motion?

Generally, the motion paperwork will not be sent to the judge's chambers until after the entire motion practice cycle has run - usually about 3 weeks.

If a hearing is scheduled, there will be no decision until after the hearing, and it may take many weeks to get one scheduled.

If there is no hearing, the judge will make a decision in due course. Usually, this is within a few weeks, but it could take months. There are many factors affecting the time, such as the complexities of your motion, other motions that may be pending in your case, and the judge's overall schedule.

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When can I file a motion?

Any time after a case starts if you need to ask for a court order different than the order requested in the Complaint or Answer.

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What motion forms can be used?

Motion Packet for Civil Cases: CIV-800 PDF

Response to Motion Packet for Civil Cases: CIV-808 PDF

Affidavit can be used in conjunction with CIV-800 or CIV-808 Packet:

There are a number of specialized motions and oppositions available, such as:

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Rev. 7 March 2019
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