Motion to Retain: Keeping a Case Open

If a case is “retained” it is kept open. If your case was placed on the dismissal docket (but not yet dismissed), you can ask the judge to keep your case open by filing a Motion to Retain Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing. 

Click on each step below to find instructions and forms for asking the judge to retain your case. There are also guided forms for motions to reinstate and retain.

Checklist Steps

Call the clerk’s or court coordinator's office. Tell the clerk you want to schedule a hearing on a motion to retain the case on the docket. The clerk will give you a date and time for the hearing.

Motion to Retain Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing: Fill out this form completely in blue or black ink and sign it.

Remember to:

  • write the reason the case should be retained (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.

Order on Motion to Retain Case on Docket: Fill out this form completely in blue or black ink (except for the judge’s signature).

Turn in your completed Motion to Retain Case on Docket 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 to Retain Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing to the other side. Send it on the same day you get the hearing date. The other side must receive it at least 3 days before the hearing. 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 to Retain Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing to the other side. You must bring proof to your hearing.  

Be ready to explain to the judge why you need the case retained on the docket. Bring proof that you sent the Motion to Retain Case on Docket and Notice of Hearing to the other side. Bring the Order on Motion to Retain Case for the judge to sign. Remember, the judge may or may not retain your case.


Source URL: https://texaslawhelp.org/checklist/motion-to-retain-keeping-a-case-open