A motion is a request to the court to obtain an order on a specific issue. One of the most common and most often used motion is a motion for extension of time.
What is a motion for extension of time?
A motion for extension of time (sometimes referred to as a motion for enlargement of time) requests the Court for more time to submit a response or pleading by a specific date. Generally speaking, if this is your first request, Courts will most likely grant the Motion and give you extra days.
When to ask for an extension:
The court has discretion to extend a time period if a request is made before the deadline. As long as the request is timely made, the court has full discretion whether to grant it.
Filing a motion may also toll the time for the deadline. For example, if you timely file a motion for extension of time to respond to a lawsuit (before the 20 days expire), a clerk default will not be entered against you.
Best practice is to ask the opposing party/counsel for an extension. If they agree, you may submit a proposed order to the Judge, and bypass the necessity of having to attend a hearing.
If the opposing party disagrees with giving you an extension, file a motion.
What should a motion for extension of time include?
The motion should give a concise, valid reason for requesting an extension. Examples of good cause to seek an extension include: illness/health issues; new counsel needs time to familiarize themselves with the case; pending settlement negotiations; and conflicting trial schedule.
At the trial level, the party seeking an extension is not required to confer with the opposing party/counsel in a good faith attempt in obtaining an extension without court intervention. At the appellate level, however, the person seeking an extension must confer with the other party/counsel on whether they agree to an extension before they can request an extension from the court.
Can an extension be requested after the deadline?
An extension may be granted only if the failure to act was the result of excusable neglect. Make sure to include that language in the motion!
Determination of excusable neglect is almost always case and facts specific. The motion should include a verification and/or affidavit stating facts as to why a response and/or an extension request was not timely filed.
If a party seeks an extension of time after expiration of the specified period, the other parties must be served with notice of the request.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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