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Civil Orders to Show Cause


In General
Affidavit in Support
Submission to the Judge
Opposition Papers
Cross-Motions
Reply Papers
Appearing in Court
The Decision on the Order to Show Cause

In General

An Order to Show Cause is way to present to a judge the reasons why the court should order relief to a party. For example, a party can seek an order granting discovery, or dismissing all or part of an action by bringing an Order to Show Cause. The Order to Show Cause differs from a motion, because it can shorten the required notice time to the other parties. Since there are strict requirements as to how to make a motion, it is much easier to come to court in person and fill out an Order to Show Cause. However, you may click on Motions, if you would like to read about the procedure.

The Order to Show Cause tells the other side of the nature of the request and states the date, time and location where the request will be made. The Order to Show Cause often contains a direction to the parties that they stop some specific activity until the court hears or decides the motion.

The Order to Show Cause is supported by an "Affidavit in Support," and copies of any documents that support the request and would help the judge make a decision. The papers must be served on all the parties in the manner directed in the Order to Show Cause. A party served with an Order to Show Cause may prepare papers to oppose the motion. On the hearing date, all parties must come to court and the judge will decide the Order to Show Cause.

If you would like to bring an Order to Show Cause or you have been served with one and you want to oppose it, continue reading below.
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Affidavit in Support

An Order to Show Cause must be supported by an Affidavit. An Affidavit is a sworn statement made before the clerk or notary public which explains to the court why your request should be granted. You may submit as many affidavits from as many people as you feel are relevant to prove to the court that the request in the Order to Show Cause should be granted.

The Clerk will give you a free civil court form when you come to court, or you may use one of your own, or download a form by clicking on Affidavit in Support. To find out where to go in your county to bring an Order to Show Cause, click on Locations.

In the Affidavit in Support, you should:

1. state the reason you are making your request,
2. state the relevant facts about your case,
3. state whether or not you have ever made the same request before, and
4. attach copies of any relevant documents you are referring to in your Affidavit.

After you have filled out the Affidavit, you must sign it at the bottom in front of the clerk, or a notary, so that it can be attached to the Order to Show Cause and submitted to a Judge.
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Submission to the Judge

After the affidavit is witnessed by the clerk, the clerk will then submit your Affidavit and an Order to Show Cause to a Judge for review. You may have to wait a while in the clerk’s office.

If your application is signed by a Judge, you will need two or three copies of the Order to Show Cause and supporting papers. You will either be given copies or lent the originals so that you can make the copies yourself. The original Order to Show Cause and Affidavit in Support goes back to the Clerk. You must then serve a copy of the papers on the other side in the manner directed in the order to show cause. The papers should be served by someone over the age of 18, who is not a party in the action, unless the judge has permitted otherwise. The clerk will give you further instructions, or you may speak with a civil court counselor in the Help Center. back to top


Opposition Papers

If you wish to oppose an Order to Show Cause, you may prepare an Affidavit in Opposition. If you do not submit opposition papers and/or appear in court to oppose the Order to Show Cause, the judge may decide to grant the relief requested based on the information in the Order to Show Cause.

An Affidavit is a sworn statement which must be signed in front of a notary public. You may submit as many affidavits from as many people as you feel are relevant to prove to the court that the request in the Order to Show Cause should be denied. You may attach copies of any relevant documents to the Affidavit in Opposition. You can download a free civil court form by clicking on Affidavit in Opposition, or you may use your own form, or obtain one from the clerk or the help center.

After you have prepared the opposition papers, follow the procedure outlined below:
1. Copies of the opposition papers must be served on all other parties.
2. Opposition papers must be served by a person who is not a party to the action and is eighteen years of age or older.
3. If a party has an attorney, the papers must be served on the attorney. Service of the opposition papers may be made by delivering the papers to the attorney personally, or by mailing the papers to the attorney.
4. After the opposition papers have been served, the person who served the papers must sign an Affidavit of Service which states how and when the papers were served. The Affidavit of Service must be signed in front of a notary. You may download the appropriate free civil court form by clicking on Affidavit of Service.
5. Make a copy of the Affidavit of Service for your records and attach the original to the copy for the court.
6. Opposition papers can be filed in the courtroom on the date that the Order to Show Cause is heard, or in the clerk’s office before that date.
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Cross-Motions

If you have been served with an Order to Show Cause and wish to ask the court for relief of your own, you may bring your own Order to Show Cause. Tell the clerk that you want your Order to Show Cause heard the same day as the Order to Show Cause that is already scheduled to be heard, and if there is enough time, they can be calendared together. Or you can notice a cross-motion for the same day as the motion is scheduled to be heard. You can learn more about the procedure by clicking on Cross-Motion. back to top


Reply Papers

If you have received opposition papers prior to the hearing date of the Order to Show Cause, you may have time to prepare an affidavit in reply. You may click on Reply Affidavit to download a free civil court form or you may use a form of your own, or obtain one from the clerk or the help center. You must serve a copy of the reply affidavit on the other side and bring extra copies and the original, along with proof of service, to the courtroom on the date the Order to Show Cause is to be heard. If you did not have time to prepare reply papers and feel that it is necessary, you can ask the court for an adjournment for time to prepare papers. The judge may or may not grant your request.
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Appearing in Court

You are required to appear in court on the date the Order to Show Cause is scheduled to be heard. You must appear at the time and place stated in the Order to Show Cause. If you need directions to the courthouse, click on Directions. If you do not appear and you are the moving party, your Order to Show Cause will be denied. If you do not oppose the motion, the motion may be granted on default. You should give yourself extra time to get to the courtroom since all visitors are required to go through metal detectors. You should bring your copies of the papers with you and any papers and affidavits that you have not yet filed with the court.

The courtroom is presided over by a Judge, who is assisted by a court attorney, a clerk, and a court officer. The court officer, wearing the uniform, maintains order in the courtroom. The clerk, sitting at a desk at the front of the courtroom, can answer any questions you may have about the calendar or the Judge’s rules. The court attorney, who is a lawyer, assists the Judge. The Judge sits on the bench at the front of the Courtroom and hears arguments for and against motions and orders to show cause, reviews stipulations, and decides requests for adjournments.

There is a calendar posted outside the courtroom that lists all the cases that will be called that day. Each case has a number. You can find your case to see when you will be called. You should sit quietly and listen for your case to be called. You will have a chance to explain your case to the judge or the judge’s court attorney. If you are not ready to discuss the Order to Show Cause with the court, or you need more time to prepare papers, when the case is called you can ask the court for a postponement or an adjournment of the motion. If your case has been adjourned before and marked "final" it means the judge will not allow any further adjournments. For more information, you may click on Adjournments.

The other side may want to discuss the Order to Show Cause with you alone to see if you can come to an agreement. If you reach an agreement, you and the other side can write the terms of your agreement into a stipulation for the judge to review. However, you do not have to talk to the other side alone. You can wait until your case is called by the court and the judge will make the decision.
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The Decision on the Order to Show Cause

If you and the other side are unable to agree about the relief being requested, the judge will make a decision on the Order to Show Cause. Sometimes, the judge makes a decision immediately. However, the judge has 60 days to decide the Order to Show Cause. Some judges will mail you a copy of the decision if you provide a self-addressed stamped envelope. Otherwise, you will have to go to the courthouse to get a copy of the decision. To find out where to go in you county click on Locations.

The judge’s decision may award a judgment to the winning party. In order to start enforcing a judgment, it must first be "entered" by the clerk. To learn more, click on Entering Judgments. Once the judgment is entered, the winning party should serve a copy of the judgment with notice of entry on the losing party. This service starts the loser’s time to appeal running. To learn more, click on Serving Notice of Entry.

If you are unhappy with the judge’s decision and think that the judge made a legal or factual mistake, you can file an appeal. An appeal must be filed within 30 days from the service of the decision and order appealed from and written notice of entry. If neither side has served a copy of the decision and order with notice of entry, there is no time limitation on the filing of an appeal. For more information about appealing a decision, click on Appeals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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