A motion must contain the following: (1) identity of the party bringing the motion; (2) identity of the party to whom it is addressed; (3) a brief statement of the basis for the motion and the relief sought; and (4) if a pleading is challenged, the specific portion challenged. (California Rules of Court ("CRC") 312(b).)
Notice of Motion
A notice of motion must be in writing and state: (1) when and where the motion will be made (date, time, and court location); (2) the nature of the order being sought and the grounds for issuance of such order; (3) the evidence or papers, if any, on which the motion will be based.
Memorandum of Points and Authorities
Typically a motion will be supported by a memorandum of points and authorities containing legal and factual arguments in support of the motion. The motion may also be supported by a declaration or affidavit and possibly exhibits (documents). Some courts also require the moving party to submit a proposed order to be signed by the judge in the event the motion is granted.
Proof of Service
A proof of service should be attached to the motion papers, although it can be served later. (If served later, it must be filed with the court no later than 5 calendar days before the hearing. CRC 3173(c).)
Opposition and Reply
The party opposing the motion may file and serve an Opposition. Like the motion, the opposition will contain a memorandum of points and authorities and, if appropriate, declaration(s) or affidavit(s). Currently, the Code of Civil Procedure requires an opposition to be filed no later than 9 court days before the hearing.
The moving party is allowed to file a Reply to the opposition no later than 5 court days before the hearing. (The time requirements for a motion for summary judgment are different. See CCP 437c.)
On the date designated for the hearing, the court will hear the motion -- i.e. preside over an oral argument. Many courts will issue a "tentative ruling" the day before the hearing or on the morning of the hearing based on the papers submitted. This allows counsel to present a more focused oral argument at the hearing or stipulate to the tentative ruling if s/he decides to accept the ruling. It is usually (but not always) an uphill battle to present a persuasive oral argument sufficient to cause the court to change its tentative ruling.
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