The procedures to seek a postponement of a court date in Texas are set forth in the Texas Code of Civil Procedure. A court demands that you appropriately comply with these procedures or face the prospect of having your motion dismissed and not considered by the judge. Although the process to postpone a court date is not particularly complex, the court closely monitors such a request to ensure that you do not abuse the system with multiple or unnecessary requests to reschedule court dates.
Obtain from the court clerk a standard form motion to continue. Court clerks in Texas typically maintain a selection of standard forms for litigants not represented by counsel. A motion to continue is the formal document needed to request a postponement of a scheduled court date.
Contact the opposing party or his attorney to see if there is an objection to your desired continuance. Texas law requires this type of notification.
Complete the motion to continue. Include on the document the caption and number of your case, your name and the name of the other party.
Insert on the motion to continue the specific reason why you require rescheduling. Make note that you requested no previous continuances. If the opposing party indicated no objection to the desired postponement, include that fact in the motion as well. Valid reasons for seeking a continuance include ongoing settlement negotiations between the parties or a serious health issue. Granting a continuance rests completely within a judge's discretion, according to Texas law.
Sign the motion.
Make copies of the motion. Contact the court clerk to determine how many additional copies beyond the original, if any, the court requires. Duplicate at least one copy for your records and another to send to the opposing party or her attorney.
File the motion with the court clerk either by delivering the document to the clerk's brick and world office or by filing online (if available and permissible). Many Texas courts permit Internet filing of motions.
Deliver a copy of the motion to the judge's chambers.
Consider engaging the services of an attorney to represent you in your lawsuit. Civil procedure and the legalities associated with any lawsuit tend to be complex. Your interests normally enjoy the best protection and advancement with an attorney at your side. Local and state bar associations maintain directories of attorneys in different practice areas, including civil litigation. Contact information for these organizations is available through the American Bar Association:
American Bar Association 321 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60654-7598 312-988-5000 abanet.org
A judge typically conducts a phone conference to take up the matter of a motion to continue. A court can conduct a hearing in court as well, depending on the circumstances. Be prepared to address the underlying reason for the requested continuance and to defend your position. Some judges frown on postponements and do not grant them eagerly.
- gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com