How to Format a Motion to the Courts

The person filing a legal motion is referred to as the movant or moving party.
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A motion is essentially a legal request to a judge asking for a decision about a case. This specific request varies depending on the person filing the motion, or moving party's, goals in filing the motion. Typically, your lawyer will file any necessary motions for you. If you are representing your own case, then you are not legally required to have an attorney draft a motion for you. Some common legal motions include motion to dismiss, motion to strike and motion for summary judgment.

How to Format a Motion to the Courts

Step 1

Create a legal heading for your motion. This should include the name of court you are petitioning, the names of the plaintiff and defendant, the case number and name of the judge you are motioning. Here is an example of a header:



John Adams



Joe Dobbs

Case Number D-3697

Hon. Benjamin T. Smith

Step 2

Capitalize your title head. Begin the legal motion by writing an appropriate title in all capital letters. The title should clearly explain your motion. For example:


Step 3

Declare the facts. Under a capitalized heading titled FACTS or DECLARATION, you need to explain only the facts of the case. Do not plead your case yet. Just state the known facts which are relevant to your case.

Step 4

Write the memorandum using the law and legal precedent to plead your case. This is your opportunity to argue the reason why you are motioning the court. This is the time to explain why the law supports your motion and convince the judge to grant your motion.

Step 5

Conclude the motion with a brief summary of your request. Restate your goal in filing the motion and what you hope to move the judge to decide.

Read More: Format for Writing a Legal Motion


  • Be careful when filing a motion to the courts on your own. Filing forms incorrectly could result in you being forced to pay fines or legal fees.


  • Contact the court you are petitioning for information about specific forms you may be required to file with your motion as well as for more information about that particular court's filing process.

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