How to Request a Hearing to Be Postponed

Any request to the court is a
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Life is complicated. Sometimes even very important things, like court dates, need to be put off. When you ask the court for a hearing to be postponed, you're making a motion for a "reset" or "set over." Judges have busy calendars, too, so the earlier you request the reset, the better your chances of its being granted. Each jurisdiction has its own rules, so be sure to check your local court rules or consult an attorney.

Gather Information

Determine what dates you won't be available for the rescheduled hearing. You don't want to have to ask for another set over as the next date draws near.

Notify the other party, or parties, that you'll be requesting a reset. It's preferable to do this in writing, which includes email.

Find out what dates the other party will be unavailable.

Ask the other party if she opposes your motion to reset.

Write the Motion

Format the motion so that it's a typed, double-spaced document with numbered lines.

Include the party's name and the case number in the heading, which should read "Motion to Reset."

Indicate whether the hearing is for a pre- or post-judgment matter. If it's prejudgment, give the date the matter was originally filed.

Specify the number of resets that had previously been granted.

Note the date, time and length of the hearing that you're asking to have postponed.

List any issues that are scheduled to be decided at the hearing.

Explain why the reset is necessary.

Indicate whether the other party agrees to or opposes the motion and what dates she's unavailable.

"Move" the court. That is, ask the court to grant your motion.

Sign and date the motion.

Read More: How to Write a Motion for Civil Court

Prepare the Order

Copy the heading from your motion, changing the words "Motion to Reset" to "Order." This document should also be double-spaced on pages with numbered lines.

Write in the option for the judge to approve or deny your request.

Leave room for the new hearing date and time to be written in.

Set aside a space for the judge to sign and date the order.

Indicate below that you prepared the order.

Preparing for Court

Find out which judge you need to see and get her "ex parte" schedule. This information may be online, or you may need to call the court.

Make copies of the motion and order that you prepared. You don't need to use a copier; you can print another set, write "true copy" at the top of each document, and certify them as such with your signature beneath.

Tell the other party the date, time, and place you plan to appear to make your motion.

Provide the other party with the copies at least 48 hours before you'll be in front of the judge.

Presenting Your Motion

Dress professionally; business casual is acceptable.

Bring the original copies of the motion and order that you prepared.

Visit the clerk of court before you head to the courtroom. You may need to pay a fee for presenting a motion.

Check in with the judge's staff members so you can inform them what you intend to present. They may take your documents then, or you may be instructed to keep them until you see the judge.

Ask the judge's clerk for two certified copies of the signed order; the originals will be kept by the court. If you're provided with only one copy of the order, you'll need to make another so that you'll have one for your records and one for the other party.

Serving the Other Party

Mail one certified copy of the order, or a "true copy" that you made if you were given only one, to the other party.

Prepare a signed certificate of service indicating specifically what documents you served on the other party and the date and method of service.

File the certificate of service with the court. This creates a record showing that you took the necessary steps to notify the other party of the reset.


  • It's a good idea to check with the court before you begin. Some jurisdictions have very lax requirements, and a phone call may be sufficient for a first set over.
  • Also, check online to see if your jurisdiction provides forms for motions to reset and orders. Some do, which is a great time-saver.

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