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I need a continuance.

This guide tells you how to ask the judge for a continuance. 
Overview

Guide Overview

If you need more time to get ready for a court hearing or trial, you may be able to get a continuance. A "continuance" changes the date of a court hearing or trial to a later date. 

Research Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

A continuance changes the date of a court hearing or trial to a later date. You can ask a judge for a continuance by filing a motion for continuance.

If the other side will not agree to a continuance, the judge will decide whether or not to give you a continuance at a separate hearing called a “continuance hearing.” It is your responsibility to notify the other side of the date and time of the continuance hearing. 

If the other side agrees to the continuance, the judge will usually sign an order granting your continuance without a continuance hearing.

Yes! If possible, talk with a lawyer in the county where the case was filed.

You can hire a lawyer just to:

  • give you advice and review your continuance forms, 
  • negotiate a continuance with the other side, 
  • represent you at your continuance hearing.

You may also be able to talk with a lawyer for free at a legal clinic.

Use TexasLawHelp's Legal Help Finder to search for a lawyer referral service, legal aid organization, or self-help center serving your area. 

On Texas Free Legal Answers, Texans with low or moderate incomes can work with a pro bono attorney for free. Post a question on the site and an attorney responds via email.

A judge will give you a continuance if you can show good cause. “Good cause” means a very good reason for changing the date that is already set.

Reasons you may want to ask for a continuance include: 

  • You did not get enough notice of the hearing.
    • (The law says you must get at least 45 days’ notice of a final hearing, at least 10 days’ notice of an enforcement hearing, and at least 3 days’ notice of most other hearings. Talk to a lawyer if you have questions about notice.)
  • You need more time to hire a lawyer or apply for legal aid. (Bring the names of any lawyers or legal aid organizations you’ve spoken with about your case to your continuance hearing.)
  • You need more time to get ready to represent yourself at a hearing.
  • You need more time to get important evidence or subpoena an important witness.

It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer in the county where the case was filed. The lawyer can tell you whether or not the judge is likely to give you a continuance.

Do not skip the hearing.

The law says that you must receive at least three days’ notice of a hearing. If you just found out about a hearing, fill out a Motion for Continuance and Notice of Hearing form and bring it with you to the hearing. If you have time, send a copy of the motion to the other side. If the other side has a lawyer send it to the lawyer.

The judge may not give you a continuance. You must have a plan to go forward on the original hearing date if the judge does not give you a continuance.

Continuance forms are available in the "instructions and forms" tab of I need a continuance. Links to the forms are below as well.

Instructions & Forms

Checklist Steps

This form tells the judge you need a continuance, and the other side has agreed. Fill it out completely in blue or black ink and sign it.

You will ask the judge to sign this form to grant the continuance.

Fill it out completely in blue or black ink (except for the judge’s signature) and sign it.

Check box A on the order form. (Box A must be checked before you ask the other side and the judge to sign the order form.)

If you and the other party have agreed to reset the hearing or trial date to another date, you must also check Box B and Box C. Call the clerk to learn the dates available to reset the hearing or trial. Fill in the original hearing date and time, the new hearing date and time (agreed to by you and the other side), and the physical address of the courthouse.

If the other side has a lawyer, ask the lawyer to sign.

Note: If the other side (or the other side’s lawyer) will not sign both forms, the continuance is not agreed.

Turn in your completed Agreed Motion for Continuance form at the clerk’s office and get a file-stamped copy.

Ask the clerk when you can present your Order on Motion for Continuance to a judge. Tell the clerk the continuance is agreed.

Follow the clerk’s instructions on how to present your Order on Motion for Continuance to a judge.

If the judge signs your Order on Motion for Continuance, take the signed order back to the clerk’s office. Turn it in and ask for a file-stamped copy. Ask the clerk whether you need to let anyone else at the courthouse know that the continuance has been granted. You may need to let the court administrator know of the change so the court’s calendar can be updated.

Send a file-stamped copy of the signed Order on Motion for Continuance to the other side by email, fax, or commercial delivery. Keep proof that you sent it. You must bring proof when you go to court on your new hearing date.  

Forms Required

Checklist Steps

Call the clerk’s office. Tell the clerk you want to schedule a hearing on a motion for continuance. The clerk will give you a date and time for the continuance hearing.

Fill out the Motion for Continuance and Notice of Hearing form completely in blue or black ink and sign it.

Remember to

  • write why you need a continuance, (remember you must have a good reason)
  • write the date and time of the hearing,
  • write the full physical address of the court where the hearing will be held, and
  • fill out and sign the Certificate of Service.

Fill out this form completely in blue or black ink (except for the judge’s signature).

Turn in your completed Motion for Continuance and Notice of Hearing form at the clerk’s office and get a copy for both you and the other side. The clerk will “file-stamp” your forms with the date and time and return the copies to you.

Send a file-stamped copy of the Motion for Continuance and Notice of Hearing to the other side. Send it on the same day you get the continuance hearing date. If the other side has a lawyer, send it to the lawyer instead of directly to the other side.

Send it

  • by fax, or
  • by email, or
  • by commercial delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS), or
  • by personal delivery, or
  • by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail. (This way may take too long.)

Keep proof that you sent the Motion for Continuance and Notice of Hearing to the other side. Bring that proof to your continuance hearing.

Be ready to explain to the judge why you need a continuance. Bring proof that you sent the Motion for Continuance and Notice of Hearing to the other side. Bring the Order on Motion for Continuance for the judge to sign. Remember, the judge may or may not give you a continuance.

Forms Required

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