Requesting a Continuance
If you or your attorney are unavailable for a scheduled court date, you may wish to request that your hearing be scheduled for another date and/or time. This is called a “continuance.” Typically, a continuance is requested by filing a motion with the Court. Your attorney can file a motion to request a continuance on your behalf, or if you are self-represented, you may file a motion for a continuance on your own.
Occasionally, verbal requests for continuance are granted. This typically occurs when a party has had minimal notice of a the date and time of a hearing and needs a continuance at the last minute. For example, PFA hearings are often scheduled within a week, and parties sometimes only have a couple of days to try to retain counsel or determine a course of action. If a party is unable to retain counsel or prepare adequately in that limited timeframe, they may wish to appear at the hearing and request a continuance to another date and time.
Continuances are discretionary, meaning that judges are not required to grant them. You will have a better chance of getting a continuance if it is the first time you have requested one; if you have made repeated continuance requests, your request is much more likely to be denied. You will also have a better chance of getting a continuance if you provide a good, plausible reason for your request, such as a conflicting hearing or doctor’s appointment scheduled at the same time as the hearing that you are requesting be continued.
Until you are sure that your continuance request has been granted, you should plan on appearing for your scheduled hearing date.
If you are interested in learning more, contact Tanner Law Offices at (717) 731-8114 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.