How to Obtain a Continuance of a Trial Date

Often times clients will have issues which arise that would cause them to be unavailable for Court. If the case is set for a hearing or a trial, or the last court order otherwise says that the parties must appear on the next court date, the parties have to appear. They cannot just not attend a court date. When a party to a case misses court, one of many things can happen, including: a default order in favor of the other side; dismissal of the case; a body attachment being issued against the party who failed to appear, which allows the Sheriff to go pick them up and bring them to court (similar to a warrant for their arrest).

There are, at times, legitimate reasons why a case needs to be continued. Perhaps there is an absolute emergency, such as a hospitalization, or another legitimate reason for a continuance. Some of the reasons in which a continuance may be allowed, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rules, include but are not limited to: absence of material evidence (assuming all provisions regarding trying to obtain same have been met, subject to other factors), or, on the Court’s own motion with the consent of the adverse party; being called in to war or that the party or attorney is a member of the General Assembly. There are also automatic stays available to military members when properly petitioned and when said petition includes all relevant documents. Continuances are not impossible to obtain, however, they are not given out very easily and there is a substantial burden to prove why the continuance is necessary, placed upon the movant.

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