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Motions and Requests

Court Basics

Motions and requests are how you formally ask a judge to take an action during a case.

Sometimes, parties need to ask the court for things before or during the trial. To ask the court for something during litigation, you will usually need to file either a motion or request. Some of the most common motions and requests are Requests for Jury, Motions for Continuance;  Motions to Amend Petitions; and Motions for Temporary Orders.

Request for Jury

A Request for Jury should be made if you want a jury to decide your case. Due to the current state of the law, it can be difficult to get a jury in your case.

See Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 216a.

Motion for Continuance

A Motion for Continuance asks the judge to postpone your hearing until a later date. This motion must include the reasons why your hearing should be postponed.

See Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 247, 251 through 254, and 330(c) and 339(d).

Read How to Ask for a Continuance.

Motion to Amend Petition

You may change your petition before trial by filing a changed petition with the court clerk. This is commonly known as amending a petition. This is done to add or take away something that has been put in the previous petition to the court.

This new petition title should start with the words “First Amended." For example, if you were amending an Original Petition for Divorce you would title the amended petition First Amended Original Petition for Divorce.  

The amended petition should be completely filled out. Do not just fill out the parts you want to change. Instead, fill out the amended petition with the parts you want to change and the parts you don’t so that it is a complete filing. After filing this amended petition, you must notify the other party so that they know what the changes are.

If you decide to change your petition during the last seven days before trial, you must ask the judge for permission to amend your pleading. To ask for permission, use a Motion to Amend Pleading.  (See Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 63 through 65.)

Related: Amending Petitions in Family Law Cases.

Temporary Orders

Because litigation can take months to complete, judges sometimes issue temporary orders that tell the parties what they must and must not do until the final hearing.

To ask the judge to order the other side to stop doing something that might harm you or begin fulfilling an obligation, ask for temporary orders in writing. The other side may write their own ask for their own temporary orders as well. The judge will decide what orders are most appropriate.

Related:Temporary Order and Temporary Restraining Orders.

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