Motions


Motions

A motion is a document asking the court to order something in an existing case. You cannot start a case by filing a motion. For example, if you need more time to answer a complaint or petition, you can file a motion to extend the time to answer.

This web page describes the basic procedures for motions generally under Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 7 (Motion practice) and Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 101 (Motion practice before court commissioners). Review the court rules for a full description of the requirements.

This page also lists several specific motions, but does not describe the details of those motions. The court does not have any forms for these motions, other than the generic forms listed in the Forms section. The Other Motions section contains links to webpages for particular motions for which we do have special forms.


Will Your Motion be Decided by a Judge or Commissioner?

Judges may rule on all motions in all types of cases. However, in Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, commissioners are assigned to hear most matters in divorce cases and several other types of family law cases. Motions decided by a judge and motions decided by a commissioner follow different procedures. If you are not sure whether your case is assigned to a judge or commissioner, find out. Call the court, or look at the caption of the complaint or petition. If a commissioner's name has been listed in the caption, the motion likely will be decided by a commissioner.

Motions decided by a judge are governed by URCP 7. Motions decided by a commissioner are governed by URCP 101.


Motions Decided by a Judge


Moving Party

If you are the party filing the motion you are the "moving" party.

  • Type or clearly print the motion. Organize the sentences into logically arranged paragraphs. Make the sentences simple and clear. If you make the documents easy to read, the judge will better understand them.
  • Title the motion to say what you want the court to order. For example, if you need to ask the court to reschedule a hearing, your motion's title would be "Motion to Reschedule Hearing."
  • The motion must state what you want and why you want it. Include relevant facts that support your claim, and be especially clear about what you want the judge to order.
  • Cite any statutes, ordinances, rules, or appellate opinions that support your arguments.
  • You can request a hearing as part of the motion. The judge might grant the request for hearing or might decide the motion based on the papers without a hearing.
  • The motion can be up to 10 double-spaced pages.

If you know the other party agrees with your motion, work with them to complete and file a Stipulated Motion.

If the other party files a Memorandum Opposing the Motion, you may file a Reply Memorandum Supporting the Motion, but only to respond to something being raised for the first time in the opposing memorandum.

Opposing Party

If you agree with the motion served on you by the moving party, you may file a Stipulation. If you and the moving party agree ahead of time with a motion, work together to complete and file a Stipulated Motion. For example, you may both agree to reschedule a hearing, so you can file together a Stipulated Motion to Reschedule Hearing.

If you do not agree with the motion, complete and file a Memorandum Opposing the Motion.

  • Type or clearly print the Memorandum Opposing the Motion. Make the sentences simple and clear. Organize the sentences into logically arranged paragraphs. If you make the documents easy to read, the judge will better understand them.
  • The Memorandum Opposing the Motion identifies the parts of the motion you disagree with, and should present facts that the judge can use as evidence when deciding the motion.
  • If you disagree with the legal arguments made in the Motion, explain in your opposing memorandum why the motion is not supported by the law.
  • Cite any statutes, ordinances, rules, or appellate opinions that support your arguments.
  • You can request a hearing as part of the Memorandum Opposing the Motion. The judge might grant the request or might decide the motion based on the papers without a hearing.
  • The memorandum heard by a judge can be up to 15 double-spaced pages.

If you want the judge to do something other than deny the motion, you must file your own counter motion.

Request to Submit for Decision

The motion will not be given to the judge to decide until one of the parties completes and files a Request to Submit for Decision. Either party may file a Request to Submit for Decision, but someone must do so. If one party files a Request to Submit for Decision, the other party does not.

Do not file the Request to Submit for Decision until the Reply to the Memorandum Opposing the Motion has been filed or until after the time for filing a Reply has expired. If there is no Memorandum Opposing the Motion, then file the Request to Submit for Decision after the time for filing the opposing memorandum has expired. You may request a hearing as part of the Request to Submit for Decision. A Request to Submit for Decision must be filed even if the parties stipulate to the motion.

See the chart below for timeframes.

Hearing

If you want to present oral arguments as well as written arguments to the judge, you have to request a hearing.

If a ruling on the motion might dispose of the case, like a motion for summary judgment, then the court usually will hold a hearing if at least one of the parties requests one. If a ruling on the motion would not dispose of the case, then the judge can decide the motion based on the documents without a hearing, even if the parties have requested one. The judge can order a hearing even if neither party requests one. If one party requests a hearing and the other party does not, both parties are still allowed an opportunity to present oral arguments, if a hearing is held.

The party requesting the hearing schedules the hearing with the judge's staff. Courtesy allows that the requesting party will schedule the hearing on a date and time convenient to all parties and the court.

Documents for Motions Decided by a Judge

Documents

Time to File and Serve

Motion

 

Memorandum Opposing the Motion

Within 14 days after filing of the Motion.

Reply to Memorandum Opposing the Motion

Within 7 days after filing of the Memorandum Opposing the Motion.

Request to Submit for Decision with proposed order

After the last permitted document is filed or after the deadline for filing that document has passed.



Motions Decided by a Commissioner


What's Different?

In Judicial Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4, commissioners are assigned to hear most matters in divorce cases and several other types of family law cases. Otherwise, all motions are assigned to judges in all judicial districts. If you are not sure whether your motion will be decided by a judge or a commissioner, contact the staff of the commissioner handling your case to find out

Even if there is a commissioner assigned to the case, some motions must be decided by a judge:

A court may also provide that other motions in domestic cases must be considered by a judge.

Only judges make final orders even if a motion is decided first by a commissioner. The commissioner recommends a decision, and that recommendation is the order of the court until it is modified by the judge. A party may object to a commissioner's recommendation by filing an objection.

Motions decided by a judge and motions decided by a commissioner follow different procedures, and the time for filing documents are different.

  • If a motion will be decided by a commissioner, a hearing is scheduled when the motion is filed, and the documents have to be filed and served before the hearing. A Request to Submit is not filed for motions considered by a commissioner.
  • If a motion will be decided by a judge, a hearing is not scheduled until after all of the documents have been filed. Also, a Request to Submit must be filed before the judge can consider the motion.

Documents for Domestic Relations Decided by a Commissioner

Motion Documents

Time to File and Serve

Motion and Notice of Hearing

Must be served at least 28 days before the hearing

Memorandum Opposing the Motion

At least 14 days before the hearing

Reply to Statement Opposing the Motion

At least 7 days before the hearing


Counter Motion Documents
(if any)

Time to File and Serve

Counter Motion
(must be served with Memorandum Opposing the Motion)

At least 14 days before the hearing

Memorandum Opposing the Counter Motion

At least 3 days before the hearing

Reply to Memorandum Opposing the Counter Motion

At least 7 business days before the hearing


Exhibits

If you will be submitting exhibits with your Motion you must also file an Affidavit with the exhibit. Examples of possible exhibits include:

  • tax returns
  • bank statements
  • receipts
  • photographs
  • correspondence
  • calendars
  • medical records
  • forms
  • photographs

The Affidavit should describe what the document is, and establish its "foundation. " That means you have to explain how the exhibit is authentic and trustworthy.

For example, if you are submitting a copy of your tax return, you could say that it is a copy of the 2014 federal tax return you sent to the IRS.

  • You may not file copies of court papers already in the court's case file such as decrees, orders, minute entries, motions, or affidavits as exhibits.
  • You may file court papers from cases other than that before the court, such as protective orders, prior divorce decrees, criminal orders, information or dockets.

The total number of pages in a motion, including affidavits and exhibits, cannot exceed 25 pages. If you have lengthy or voluminous exhibits, you must make it easy for the court to review them by doing the following:

  • file with the court a summary describing the contents of the exhibit and what it proves. For example, you could say it is 50 pages of text messages with the other party in which they say they won't follow the court's order. Or, that it's a collection of bank statements for the entire year of 2013 and that monthly account amounts averaged $2,000.
  • serve a copy of the summary and the complete exhibit on the other party.
  • bring the original or copies of the complete exhibit with you to the hearing.

There is an exception to this rule. Documents with "specific legal significance," must be submitted in their entirety, even if they are lengthy. These documents include:

  • tax returns
  • appraisals
  • financial statements and reports prepared by an accountant
  • wills
  • trust documents
  • contracts
  • settlement agreements

Request to Submit for Decision

There is no Request to Submit for Decision if the motion will be decided by a commissioner. The hearing is set when the motion is filed, and the motion is automatically submitted for decision at the end of the hearing.

Hearing

The moving party will schedule a hearing with the commissioner's staff when the motion is filed. The moving party should schedule the hearing on a date and time convenient to all parties and the court. Check with court staff to find out whether the moving party or court staff will serve the Notice of Hearing on the other party.

If a counter motion is filed, it will be scheduled at the same hearing on the motion and no separate notice of hearing on counter motions is required.


Order

The order is the judge's or commissioner's decision on the motion. The order usually contains a statement of the facts that the court decides are true, a statement of the law, and the court's orders.

  • If the judge makes a decision without a hearing or if the judge or commissioner takes the matter under advisement, the decision will usually be made within 60 days after the motion is submitted.
  • If the judge or commissioner makes a decision at the end of a hearing, usually they will tell one party or the other to prepare the order. Listen carefully to what the judge or commissioner says because you may have to prepare the order, and the order has to agree with what the judge or commissioner says. You can also buy a copy of the audio recording of the hearing from the court.

The order should be prepared within 14 days after the judge's or commissioner's decision. If a party is directed to prepare the order and does not, then the other party may prepare the proposed order.

The party who prepares the proposed order must serve it on the other party. The other party has 7 days in which to object. The objection can be directed only to the language of the order, not the ruling by the judge or commissioner.

The party preparing the order files the order with the court at the end of the time to object. If there is no objection, the judge or commissioner will sign the order. If the other party objects, the parties can work it out or the judge or commissioner will rule on the objection.


Serving the Documents

Service of motions and the supporting and opposing documents is governed by Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 5. For more information, see our webpage on Serving Papers.


Types of Motions in Civil Cases

This table includes some of the more common motions in civil cases. This is not an exhaustive list; there are others. The court does not have any forms for these motions, other than the generic forms listed in the "Forms" section. The "Other Motions" section contains links to webpages for particular motions for which we do have special forms.

Motion

Rule of Civil Procedure

Which Party Can Make the Motion and When

Description

To dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction

Rule 12(b)(1)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because it was filed in the wrong court. If the court grants the motion, the plaintiff can file the case in a court that has jurisdiction.

To dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction

Rule 12(b)(2)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the defendant/respondent does not have enough of a connection to Utah. If the court grants the motion, the plaintiff/petitioner can file the case in a court that has personal jurisdiction.

To transfer to a county in which venue is proper

Rule 12(b)(3)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to transfer the case to a county in which the defendant/respondent resides, where the action arose, or to some other county with venue.

To dismiss for insufficient process

Rule 12(b)(4)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

"Process" refers to the summons itself. The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the summons did not meet the requirements of URCP 4 (a) and (c). If the court finds that the summons is defective, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to prepare and serve a proper summons or dismiss the case. If the case is dismissed, the plaintiff/petitioner can file a new case, and prepare and serve a proper summons.

To dismiss for insufficient service of process

Rule 12(b)(5)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

"Service of process" refers to how the summons and complaint are delivered to the defendant/respondent. The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the defendant/respondent was not served in a manner permitted by URCP 4(d). If the court finds that service was defective, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to properly serve the summons and complaint/petition or dismiss the case. If the case is dismissed, the plaintiff/petitioner can file a new case, and properly serve the defendant/respondent.

To dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted

Rule 12(b)(6)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because the claims made, even if true, do not state a cause of action. The motion does not admit or deny the truth of the claims. If the court finds that the claims do not state a cause of action, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to amend the complaint/petition or dismiss the case. If the case is dismissed, the plaintiff/petition can file a new case, unless the case is dismissed "with prejudice."

To dismiss for failure to join an indispensible party

Rule 12(b)(7)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to dismiss the case because someone who has to be a party is not a party. URCP 19 says who should be a party and who has to be a party. If the court finds that the person has to be a party, it may allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to join the person to the case by naming them as a party and serving them. If the court does not have personal jurisdiction over a person who has to be a party, the case will be dismissed.

To make a more definite statement

Rule 12(e)

Defendant/Respondent after the summons and complaint/petition have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to order the plaintiff/petitioner to rewrite the complaint/petition (or some part of it) because, as written, it is so unclear that the defendant/respondent cannot be expected to understand it. If the court grants the motion, it will allow the plaintiff/petitioner extra time to rewrite the complaint/petition (or some part of it).

To strike a statement

Rule 12(f)

Any party after a new pleading or other paper has been filed and served

The motion asks the court to strike a part of a document because the language is so repetitive, irrelevant or improper that it should be deleted. If the court grants the motion, the offending language will be deleted, but the case will still proceed.

For judgment on the pleadings

Rule 12(c)

Any party after all pleadings have been filed and served

The motion asks the court to give judgment to the moving party because, based on the pleadings, the moving party should win as a matter of law. If the court grants the motion, the moving party wins the case (or some part of it).

For summary judgment

Rule 56

Any party after all pleadings have been filed and served and before trial.

The motion asks the court to give judgment to the moving party because, based on the pleadings, statements and other documents, the moving party should win as a matter of law. If the court grants the motion, the moving party wins the case (or some part of it). This motion is similar to motion for judgment on the pleadings, except that the court considers material in addition to the pleadings. To grant the motion, the court must find that no important facts are disputed and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

For order to show cause why the other party should not be held in contempt

Rule 7(b)(2)

Either party after an order has been violated by the other party

The motion asks the court to compel the other party to obey an existing order or to punish the other party for violating the order. If the court grants the motion, the court will schedule a hearing at which the opposing party has to show good cause why they violated the order. If the court holds the opposing party in contempt, the court can order that party to pay a fine and go to jail.

To amend or set aside a judgment

Rule 60

Either party after the judgment has been entered.

Rule 60(a) asks the court to correct a clerical error.
Rule 60(b) asks the court to set aside the judgment. See our Motion to Set Aside Judgment page for more information and forms



Other Motions

This webpage describes motion procedures in general. See the following webpages for information and forms about a Motion ...


Forms for Motions Decided by a Judge


Forms for the Moving Party


Required forms for the moving party
  • Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Request to Submit for Decision - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (filed after all documents have been filed, or the time has passed for the other party to respond)
  • Findings of Fact,Conclusions of Law and Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
Optional Forms for the Moving Party
  • Stipulated Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if both parties agree to the motion before it is filed)
  • Stipulation - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the other party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • Statement Supporting the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if someone other than the moving party has a statement to make)
  • Reply to Memorandum Opposing Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the other party has disagreed with the motion and presented a new matter in their response, and the moving party wishes to respond)
  • Notice of Hearing - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if a hearing is requested)

Forms for the Opposing Party


Required forms for the opposing party Optional forms for the opposing party
  • Stipulation - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the opposing party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • Counter Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the opposing party has new arguments to make not presented in the moving party's motion)
  • Notice of Hearing - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if a hearing is requested)
  • Request to Submit for Decision - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the other party has not filed this document)
  • Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)

Forms for Motions Decided by a Commissioner


Forms for the Moving Party


Required forms for the moving party Optional forms for the moving party
  • Affidavit in Support of Exhibit - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (to be used with exhibits, if any)
  • Exhibit Summary - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (to be used to describe voluminous exhibits, if any)
  • Stipulation - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the other party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • Statement Supporting the Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if someone other than the moving party has a statement to make)
  • Reply to Memorandum Opposing Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the other party has disagreed with the motion and the moving party wishes to respond)

Forms for the Opposing Party


Required forms for the opposing party Optional forms for the opposing party
  • Counter Motion - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the opposing party has new arguments to make in response to the moving party's motion)
  • Affidavit in Support of Exhibit - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (to be used with exhibits, if any)
  • Exhibit Summary - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (to be used to describe voluminous exhibits, if any)
  • Stipulation - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the other party agrees to the motion after it has been filed)
  • Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)
  • Notice of Order - PDF Document PDF | Word Document Word
    (if the opposing party is directed to complete the order)

Related Information


Page Last Modified: 5/4/2016
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