Opposing A Motion Filed Against You

Learn how to prepare and file a written “opposition” to a motion that the other side has filed against you. Keep in mind that if you don’t file a written opposition, the other side might win automatically!


Overview

If one party to a case has filed a motion with the court, the other side can file an “opposition.” An “opposition” is a written statement explaining to the judge why the other side is not entitled to whatever he is asking for in his motion. It is your opportunity to oppose the other side’s request.

To learn more about motions generally, click to visit Filing Motions to Resolve Your Case or Narrow Issues.


Q&A - Oppositions


Do I have a deadline to file my opposition?

Yes, you have a deadline. You normally must file your opposition with the court within ten business days after the other side “serves” (delivers) the motion to you. If you receive the motion in the mail, you get an additional three calendar days from the date it is mailed.

What happens if I don’t file an opposition to the motion?

If a motion is filed against you and you do not file a written opposition with the court, the judge could grant the other side’s motion automatically. That means the other side could get whatever she is asking for in the motion. It also might mean you lose the case, depending on the motion that was filed. So be careful.

Is there a form I can use to prepare my opposition?

The Self-Help Center has a couple of forms you might be able to us to prepare your opposition.

  • If you need to file an opposition to a motion for summary judgment, you can get a form opposition for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can download the form on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:

JUSTICE COURT OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable | Instructions 

DISTRICT COURT OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable | Instructions 

Be sure to read the instructions carefully. Opposing a motion for summary judgment can be tricky. Take the time to prepare your opposition correctly or you could lose the case.

  • If you need to file an opposition to any other type of motion, you can get a generic opposition for free at the Self-Help Center, or you can download the form on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:

JUSTICE COURT OPPOSITION (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

DISTRICT COURT OPPOSITION (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

This form is a generic opposition. There are many different types of motions. And the requirements for opposing motions can be different depending on the type of motion. You should alter the form to fit your exact needs.

To learn more about the motion that was filed against you and the requirements for opposing it, visit your local law library. For location and contact information, click to visit Law Libraries.

To learn more about filling out legal forms, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.

Do I need to file my written opposition with the court?

Yes. After you write your opposition, you need to file your opposition with the court clerk. To learn more about filing, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.

Do I need to give the other side a copy of my opposition?

Yes. Whenever you file something with the court, you must “serve” (deliver) a copy to all other parties in the case. After the initial complaint that started the case, most documents will be served by mailing them. But documents might also be served by hand delivery or through the court’s electronic filing system under certain circumstances.

If you are using a Self-Help Center opposition form, the form has a “certificate of service.” This is your certification that you have mailed (or will mail) a copy of the document to the other side and all other parties in the case. Make sure the certificate of service is completed before you file your opposition with the court.

If an attorney is representing a party in the case, mail your opposition directly to the attorney’s office. If a party to the case is representing him or herself, mail your opposition directly to that party’s address.

What should I say in my opposition?

What you say in your opposition depends on what the other side said in the motion he filed. Your job in your opposition is to defend yourself and counter the factual and legal arguments the other side is relying upon. In other words,

  • If the other side has included important facts in the motion that you believe are not true, you can correct those facts in your opposition.
  • If the other side has failed to include facts that you believe are critical to your position, you can state those facts and paint a complete picture of what happened for the judge.
  • If the other side has cited a law or a previous court opinion for the judge that you believe does not apply to your case, you can point that out to the judge and explain why you think it does not apply.
  • If the other side has cited the correct law or statute, but you disagree with how the other side is applying or analyzing that law, you can provide your own analysis for the judge to consider and poke holes in the other side’s argument.

What you say in your motion also depends on the type of motion the other side filed. Different motions might have different requirements for how you must oppose them and what information and evidence you must provide to the judge.

To learn more about the motion that was filed against you and the requirements for opposing it, visit your local law library. For location and contact information, click to visit Law Libraries.

Will the judge hold a hearing on the motion?

Look at the motion you received. It should contain a “notice of motion” or “notice of hearing” that indicates that a hearing has been scheduled in front of the judge. It should include the hearing date, time, and place. If you do not see a hearing date and time, pull up your case on the court’s website and verify the hearing date and time. Click to visit Look Up My Case.

What happens if I don’t attend the hearing?

You should always attend any scheduled hearing. If you do not attend the hearing, the judge is likely to grant the other side’s motion and enter an order against you.

What will happen at the hearing?

At the hearing, the judge will probably ask questions and let each side state their position on the motion. Be prepared to explain to the judge why the other side should not get what they are asking for in the motion. To learn more about what to expect at the hearing, click to visit Going to Court.

When will the judge make a decision?

At or after the hearing, the judge will make a decision on the motion. The judge might write an order on the motion herself. Or she might direct one of the parties to prepare the order for her signature. An “order” is the written decision or judgment that grants or denies the motion. It is signed by the judge then filed with the court.

If you need to prepare an order for the judge, a generic order form is available, free of charge, at the Self-Help Center, or you can download it on your computer by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:

JUSTICE COURT ORDER (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable |Pdf Nonfillable 

DISTRICT COURT ORDER (GENERIC) 
Word Fillable | Pdf Fillable | Pdf Nonfillable 

Once the judge signs the order, you must file it with the court clerk. Click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing to learn more.

After the order is filed, prepare a Notice of Entry of Order, attach the signed order to the notice, file the Notice of Entry of Order with the court clerk, and mail the filed notice to all parties in the case.

A Notice of Entry form is available, free of charge, at the Self-Help Center, or you can download the form by clicking one of the formats underneath the form’s title below:

JUSTICE COURT NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER 
Pdf Nonfillable 

DISTRICT COURT NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER 
Pdf Nonfillable 

To learn more about filling out legal forms and filing with the court, click to visit Basics of Court Forms and Filing.