If you receive a notice of hearing or summons to appear in court and you cannot attend, you must ask the court to reschedule the hearing date. To move a court date, you must file a "motion to continue," which is a formal written request to the court to postpone a hearing to a later date. If the court grants your motion, it will issue an order that postpones the hearing and reschedules it for a later date.
Copy the style of the notice of hearing or summons onto your motion. The style is the top portion of the first page of the notice or summons that contains identifying information about your case, including the court division, county, state, case number and names of the parties to the lawsuit.
Type "Motion to Continue" in the center of the page two lines below the style.
Skip one or two lines and type "I, (your name), hereby file this Motion to Continue and in support of this motion state as follows:" as an introductory statement.
Acknowledge that you received a written notice scheduling a hearing for a certain date. Explain why you must miss the hearing, and ask the court to reschedule it for a later date. Be as succinct as possible; provide only facts relevant to your request. Number your paragraphs and write only one statement per paragraph.
Type "Certificate of Service" in the center of your page two lines beneath your last paragraph. Skip two more lines and type "I hereby certify that a copy of this motion has been sent by mail to the following parties:" and then list the names and contact information of all the parties to your case.
Create a signature block at the bottom of the document. Insert a blank line for your signature, and type your name, address and telephone number immediately under the line. Sign the motion on the blank line.
File your motion with the clerk of court, and keep a copy for yourself.
Mail a copy of the motion to the judge and every party you name in the certificate of service.
- Follow the instructions on any order you receive from the judge. If the judge grants your motion, he will schedule another hearing date. If the judge denies your motion, you must attend your hearing as scheduled or risk a penalty such as a contempt citation or a default judgment.
- In some cases, the judge will set a hearing on your motion to continue. Attend the hearing and be prepared to explain why you need a continuance.
- You must file a motion to continue as soon as possible to maximize your chance of obtaining a continuance; some courts require you to file such motions five to 10 days before the date of the hearing you wish to reschedule.