1. Prepare your forms
Prepare the particular motion and notice of motion that apply to your case, keeping in mind the specific court rules of the county where you are filing your case.
When you fill out the motion, provide a detailed explanation to tell the judge what you want. Include the basic facts the judge would need to make a decision. It is important that the judge understands what you are asking for and why. If you talk about any documents in your motion, attach copies for the judge.
You will also need to include the date when the motion will be heard.
How you will find out about the court date (or hearing date) and time depends on how you filed your case.
- E-filing: The website you used to electronically file may let you pick your court date (or hearing date) and time. If it does not, contact the clerk.
- Paper filing: If you filed in person at the courthouse, the clerk will let you pick or they may pick for you.
Make at least 3 copies of your motion and notice of motion.
Remember: Different motions are often used for different types of cases, so you should make sure to use the motion that applies to your particular issue.
2. File your forms with the court clerk
Now that you have filled out your forms, you need to file them with the clerk. The method you are required to use depends on the county where you are filing.
- E-filing: Most counties require you to file your forms and documents electronically. See E-Filing Basics for more information.
- Paper filing: If your county allows paper filing, or you have an E-filing Exemption Certificate, take your completed forms to the circuit court clerk's office in the courthouse. See courthouse locations. The clerk will stamp your forms. This stamp is important because it's proof that you filed the form with the court. They will give you a copy for your records.
3. Send the other party notice of the hearing
To give the other party notice, you must deliver stamped copies of the motion and notice of motion either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the other party has an attorney, send one copy of each form to the attorney's office.
Keep the remaining copies for your files and bring them with you when you return to court. You must also bring proof that you delivered or sent notice to the other party. This proof can be a certified mail return receipt, if you mailed the documents, or the other party's signature stating that they received the notice, if you delivered the documents personally.
You should also fill out the Proof of Service section on the Notice of Motion detailing the date and time you mailed the documents. Bring a copy of the certified mail receipt with you to court as proof that the form was sent. Also be sure to keep a copy of the motion for your own records and other copies for use as needed.
4. Go to your hearing date
Go to court on the date and time assigned to you by the clerk. Bring an extra copy of your motion and notice of motion in case the judge needs one. Check in with the clerk in your assigned courtroom and wait for your name to be called.
Usually, the judge will first hear oral arguments in support of your motion. If you filed the motion, you will get the first chance to tell the judge why you are in court and what you want to see happen in your case. Then the other side will get a turn to tell the judge if they disagree or agree and why. You may be given the opportunity to say the last word.
In some circumstances, a judge may want to hold an evidentiary hearing. If that is the case, the judge will ask you to present witnesses and documents in support of your position. Therefore, you should bring any important witnesses or documents with you to court just in case.
After hearing from both sides, the judge will issue an Order granting or denying the motion. Make sure you get copies of this Order from the courtroom clerk. Bring the Order to the Circuit Clerk's office to be stamped and filed. If the other side did not appear at the hearing, send a copy of the Order to them.
Motion is granted
If your motion is granted, you will usually receive an Order from the judge. This order is a legal document that can require people to do things.
For example, an Eviction Order requires a person to move out of their home.
Your Order might also have instructions and deadlines for filing things in your case. You should read the Order carefully.
Motion is denied
If your motion is denied, your case goes on and you can still file motions for other things.
You can also file a motion to reconsider if:
- You think the judge made a mistake;
- There has been a change in the law since the hearing; or
- You have new evidence that wasn't available at the hearing.
Motions to reconsider should only be filed rarely. Be careful not to file a motion to reconsider just because you disagree with the judge's decision. If you have nothing new to present to the judge or cannot show that the judge clearly made a mistake, your motion to reconsider could annoy the judge and court personnel.
You file a motion to reconsider the same way you filed the original motion. If you lose your case, you may be able to file an appeal.
Updated: December 2017