Set Aside (Undo) a Default or Order
About this process:
A person can ask the court to undo (or "set aside") a default or a final order. This motion usually must be filed within 6 months of when the default or order was entered.
There are only a few reasons why a judge might undo a default or an order. Do not file this motion just because you disagree with what the judge ordered. You must show that the default or order was obtained due to fraud, misrepresentation, mistake, excusable neglect, or misconduct of the other party. If you were not served with papers that led to the default or order, you can list that as a reason. There a few other reasons that are less common.
If granted, the court may reconsider the case or issue a new ruling based on the updated information.
Follow the steps below to file a motion to set aside a default or order:
1. Fill out the forms. The motion lets you explain why you think the default or order should be undone.
2. File the forms. Turn in the completed forms to the Clerk of Court.
3. Serve the other party. You have to send the filed forms to the other party.
The motion will allow you to explain what you want the court to undo and why. You will have to explain the reasons why you did not respond to the papers that led to the default or order, or explain any irregulatities, misconduct, or new evidence that you think would have changed the outcome.
File the completed form with the same district court where your case was filed. Visit Find My Court if you are not sure where to find the district court.
The court will charge you a filing fee to file your papers. The fee is different in every county. Find out from the court what the filing fee will be.
If you cannot afford the filing fee, please see Filing Fees and Waivers to find out how to ask the court to waive the fee.
THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT! If you do not follow this step properly, the judge may deny your motion! Be sure to read and follow the instructions here to make sure the other party is properly served with your papers. It is up to YOU to serve the documents; the court does not serve the documents for you.
All of the documents you filed must be served on the other party, or, if the other party is represented by an attorney, the documents must be served on the attorney. This is to make sure the other party knows about your request and has a chance to respond to your papers.
How to Serve the Papers:
You must send the documents through the U.S. Mail (you can send them by regular mail, there is no need to send them by certified mail).
Once you serve the documents, fill out a Certificate of Mailing that states when, where, and how you served the documents. File the Certificate of Mailing with the court.
You can find answers to common questions about service on the Frequently Asked Questions: Service page.
The judge will give the other party some time to file a response. If you the other party files an opposition that you would like to respond to, you can file a "Reply to Opposition" if there are issues raised that you want to address.
Once your reply is filed (or the time for the other party to file an opposition has passed), you need to let the judge know the case is ready for review. You do this by filling out a "Request for Submission," which lets the judge know it is time to review the papers and make a decision. Fill out the form at file it at the court.
The judge will then read through the paperwork submitted by both parties. The judge may set a hearing if the judge feels it would be helpful to ask the parties some questions in person.
The judge will make a decision about the issues raised in the motion, opposition, and reply. You will receive an "order" that outlines everything the judge decided.
If the judge sets aside the default or order, the court may reconsider the case or issue a new ruling based on the updated information. You may be required to file additional paperwork so the judge can consider your point of view.