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Before the Trial

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What kind of motions can I make?

Your motion must be related to the case that is pending before the judge. Here are some other common motions:

  • Motion for a temporary order – You can ask the judge to grant a temporary (interim) order while the case is pending. This might be a temporary restraining order or a temporary custody order. In a divorce case, you may be able to make a motion for temporary relief like support, attorney’s fees, exclusive use of a marital residence, an order prohibiting the parties from using marital assets or taking on marital debts not related to day-to-day living expenses, or other relief as necessary.
  • Adjournment requests – Even simple requests like adjournments are technically motions. An adjournment is a postponement of a court date. Depending on how far away the court date is, you might need to provide a convincing (compelling) reason for a judge to grant an adjournment. If you cannot attend a scheduled court date, usually you can request an adjournment verbally on the prior court date, or you can send letter to the court with a copy sent to the other side. Be sure to ask the court clerk exactly where to send your written request for an adjournment. If you can get the other side’s agreement to adjourn the case, it may increase the likelihood that the judge grants your request.
  • Motion to dismiss – If the court case is filed by an abuser only as an attempt to further abuse, it may not be serious (frivolous), lack merit, or have some other defect, and then you can motion for it to be dismissed without having to go through a trial. It will be up to the judge whether to grant a motion to dismiss.
  • Discovery-related motion – In some types of cases, the parties will exchange information and documents before trial, which is called discovery. Discovery may not be granted automatically in certain cases, and in those cases, you might have to make a motion to get access to certain information from the other party. In addition, if the other party is not cooperating with discovery, you can file a motion to compel to force him/her to cooperate with the discovery process.