Ultimate Guide: Filing a Motion in Family Court

How to File a Motion in Family Court

Being involved in a family court proceeding can be emotional, time-consuming, and frustrating. 

The judge, your ex, and even your family court attorney may throw around terms you don’t understand. This inconvenience can make getting divorced or fighting for child custody even more frustrating. 

After all, if your ex isn’t being fair with custody or Nevada alimony, the judge should do something. 

But the reality is that the judge doesn’t know something is wrong with your case until you tell them. And you can’t call the judge on the phone and ask him to fix the issues with your ex. That’s where family court motion practice comes in. 

In this ultimate guide, we break down the basics of the family court motion. We also explain what you need to include in your motion and give you tips for winning your hearing. 

Keep reading to learn more. 

The Ultimate Guide to Filing a Motion in Your Family Court Case

What is a Motion?

A motion is you notifying the judge of a problem in your case and asking for a court-ordered solution. Your motion will need to be in writing because you can’t call the judge and ask for an answer. 


What Can I Ask the Judge for in My Motion?

You could ask the judge for anything in your motion. But, since this guide deals with family court motions, we’ll deal with problems you have with your ex. 

If the case is brand new, you could ask for immediate solutions to your problems like:

  • establishing a temporary custody or visitation schedule, 
  • setting alimony, 
  • ordering your marital home to get listed for sale, 
  • asking to enforce a restraining order, 
  • or having your ex pay for your attorney fees.

For closed cases where your ex isn’t following the orders, or if there is a new problem with your ex, you could ask the judge:

  • to change the orders like modifying your custody schedule, 
  • increasing or decreasing a Las Vegas child support or alimony award, 
  • getting a passport for your child,
  • or order that assets get sold to pay a past judgment. 


CAUTION: Before You File, You MUST First Try to Resolve Issues with Your Ex

Yes, this means you have to communicate with your ex before a motion gets filed. It does not mean that you have to have a sit-down conversation or even a phone call. 

A simple text pointing out the issue and asking for a resolution could be enough to get you past this rule. 

Whichever way you do it, you must make a good faith effort to resolve it before filing a motion. 

If you can’t resolve the issue, or your ex won’t talk to you, you must explain these facts to the judge. This includes your efforts to resolve the case and why you believe the case could not settle. Your reason could be as simple as “I sent an email to my ex asking to change the custody schedule, but she ignored it.”f

Resolve Issues
CAUTION: Before You File, You MUST First Try to Resolve Issues with Your Ex

Drafting Your Motion

Now it is time to write up the motion. 

If you are filing the motion yourself, you may consider using the Self Help Forms from the Court. These include detailed instructions of what to have in the motion.

If you want to write your motion yourself, you need to verify the format meets the Court’s requirements. 

There are four parts to a motion filed in family court, and each gets discussed below.


1. The Caption of Your Motion

Believe it or not, the way your motion gets captioned is significant. 

You need to include the correct motion code in the upper left corner of the motion below that you should have your name, address, email, and phone number. 

Next, you have the Court Caption. This area identifies the Court you are filing in, i.e., family court.

Next, you will identify the parties to the case, case number, and department. These are pretty self-explanatory, and I have included a sample below. 

You will also need to tell the Court if you want to explain your motion. This type of thing gets referred to as an oral argument. Also, if you want the judge to decide based on the motion you filed. This action gets called a “in chambers” hearing. 

After this, a required statement informs your ex they need to respond within 14 days. 

Last is the name of the Motion. The name of the motion should explain to the judge fast what you want him to do. 

For example:

  • “Motion to List Marital Home for Sale” 
  • “Motion to Change Custody” 
  • “Motion to Decrease Alimony.” 


Here’s a sample caption:



123 Main Street

Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (702) 123-1234








Case No: D-22-000001-D

Dept No: 1




Drafting Your Motion
If you want to write your motion yourself, you need to verify the format meets the Court's requirements.

2. Statement of Facts

With the Motion’s first page set up, you are ready to explain your side of the story to the judge. This part happens in your statement of facts section. 

Your first paragraph should include your full name and your ex’s full name. It should also include your children’s full name and their dates of birth. 

If you are going through a divorce, include your date of marriage. That way, the judge can refer to this paragraph at a glance for basic information. 

The following paragraph or two should explain what is happening that has led you to file your motion. 

Be brief.

For example, if your ex isn’t letting you see your children, you should explain:

  • when it started, 
  • what you and your ex were doing before your ex started withholding the children, 
  • and why you believe your ex isn’t letting you see the children.

You want to give the judge a sense of what has caused you to get the court involved. 

The following paragraph should explain your efforts to settle this case with your ex. If you have called, texted, and emailed, include the specific days and times you reached out. You should also explain your ex’s response to your requests to settle. 

Your last paragraph should outline what you want the judge to do. Tell the judge you wish to get alimony and the amount you ask for alimony. If you want the judge to order a custody schedule, explain the specific plan you want. 

3. Legal Argument

Include a section in your motion called Legal Argument after your statement of facts. 

This section is where the law gets placed into the Motion, and your legal analysis gets done. For this, you will see a section for each request for relief. 

So, if you ask for a custody schedule and child support, include two legal argument sections—one for custody and one for child support. 

You will need to include the law for each section in your legal argument part. Looking up the law on the internet or using the Self Help website can help you. 

Finally, you will need to tie your facts (the ones you wrote in the statement of facts) to the law. 

For example, if your ex refuses to allow you to see the kids, you might want to cite NRS 125C. Say, “the law recommends joint custody, and by my ex denying me visitation, my rights under the law are getting denied.” 

4. Conclusion

After the legal argument section, you will want to include a conclusion. Usually, the conclusion sections of family court motions are brief. 

We write something like:

“For the reasons set forth above, Jane Doe’s Motion should get granted in its entirety.” 

If the motion asks for several different things, sometimes we will write out what we want the judge to do. 

We may write something like:

“To reiterate, Jane Doe asks that this Court award temporary alimony of $1,000 per month, order that the marital home get listed for sale, and award her vehicle to her.”

practice pointer
Practice pointer: Motions in family court get limited to thirty (30) pages. If you need to file a motion longer than 30 pages, you must get the judge's approval. Keep in mind thirty pages is usually more than enough.

5. Exhibits to your motion

You have the opportunity to provide documents to the judge to support your arguments. These documents get referred to as exhibits. 

Exhibits must get filed apart from the motion. You should include a cover page with your caption and list the exhibits. For example, an exhibit cover page might look like this:



123 Main Street

Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (702) 123-1234








Case No: D-22-000001-D

Dept No: 1



Exhibit 1: Text Messages

 Exhibit 2: Emails

 Exhibit 3: Photographs

 Exhibit 4: Receipts

Ensure that you paginate each exhibit and include a page that separates the exhibits. 

Now that you have drafted your motion and organized your exhibits, you still have to file them.


How to File Your Family Court Motion

First, your Motion needs a Motion and Opposition Fee Sheet. You can get this form from the Self Help Center. This form gets attached to the end of your motion. It identifies what, if any, monies you must pay the Court for the filing.

Odyssey file and serve is the system in which the Motion will get uploaded for filing with the Court. You can either log into the system from home or take your paperwork to the Family Court to get filed.

Next, you must notify the opposing party that you have filed a motion. If the opposing party is representing themselves and not registered for Electronic Service, the Motion will have to be mailed, and a Certificate of Mailing will have to be filed with the court. 

If counsel or the opposing party represents the opposing party gets registered for electronic service. In that case, the Odyssey filing system has a service mechanism that can send the motion to them electronically. If this gets used, you still need to file a stand-alone certificate of Electronic Service. 


A Final Word About Financial Disclosure Forms

Chances are pretty good you will need to file a financial disclosure form.

This fact is especially true if your motion involves money, such as:

  • alimony, 
  • child support, 
  • dividing a bank account, 
  • or even a request for attorney’s fees. 

If so, you must file a financial disclosure form. 

You must also file your financial disclosure within three days of filing your motion. Your financial disclosure form should include a copy of your last three paystubs. 

If nothing has changed in your financial condition AND you have filed a financial disclosure form in the preceding six months, you can write in your motion that nothing has changed in your financial situation. This move is enough to keep you from having to file a new financial disclosure form. 

We hope this guide has been helpful. If you or someone you know needs help with a family court motion, feel free to give us a call. 

We can help. 

The letters "FAQ" in large bold text to represent the start of a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a motion?

A motion is a written request asking the judge to issue a court order to address a problem or provide a solution in your case. Motions are filed when you cannot resolve an issue directly with the other party.

What can I ask the judge for in a motion?

You can ask the judge for things like changing custody, modifying child support or alimony, dividing assets, enforcing orders, etc. The motion should clearly state what you are requesting from the court.

Do I have to try to resolve the issue with the other party first?

Yes, you must make a good faith effort to resolve the issue directly with the other party before filing a motion. This can be done through phone calls, texts, emails – anything showing you tried to work it out. If those efforts fail, explain that in your motion.

What are the parts of a motion?

A motion should include a caption, statement of facts, legal arguments, conclusion, and exhibits if applicable. Follow the court’s formatting rules.

How do I file the motion?

You must submit the motion through the court’s electronic filing system. You’ll also need to serve the other party and file proof of service with the court.

Do I need to file a financial disclosure form?

If your motion deals with financial matters like support or property, you’ll likely need to submit a financial disclosure form within 3 days of filing the motion.

How long does the other party have to respond?

The other party has 14 days after being served to file a written response to your motion with the court.

What happens after it’s filed?

The court will either rule on the motion based on the filings or schedule a hearing. Check your case docket for updates and orders from the judge.

Should I get an attorney?

Family court motions can be complex. Consulting with an attorney can help ensure your motion abides by the rules and clearly presents your request.

"Glossary" in large, bold text, marking the beginning of a section defining key terms.


Motion – A written request filed with the court asking the judge to issue an order or provide a remedy.

Movant – The party who files a motion, also called the petitioner.

Respondent – The party responding to the motion.

Caption – The top section of a legal document listing the court, parties, and case details.

Statement of Facts – Section of a motion laying out relevant background facts of the case.

Legal Argument – Section where the movant explains how the law and facts support the requests in the motion.

Conclusion – Final section summarizing what the movant is requesting from the court.

Exhibits – Supporting documents, records, photos, texts, etc. attached to a motion.

Serve – To formally deliver legal documents to the other party.

Proof of Service – Documentation showing that the motion was properly served.

Docket – The court’s official record of filings and orders for a case.

Hearing – Court proceeding where parties argue a motion before the judge.

Order – A court document issued by a judge requiring or prohibiting certain actions.

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Additional Resources for You

Molly Rosenblum, Esq., our distinguished lead attorney, not only provides exceptional legal representation but also offers a wealth of resources to support you through various family law matters. Understanding the complexities and emotional challenges of family law, these resources are meticulously crafted to offer guidance, clarity, and support during these critical times. Here’s a highlight of the valuable resources available at your disposal:

  1. Las Vegas Family Law Attorneys: Navigate the complexities of family law in Las Vegas with expert advice and representation, ensuring your interests are protected every step of the way. Explore the resource.

  2. Family Court Las Vegas: Gain insights into the family court system in Las Vegas, and learn how to effectively navigate the legal proceedings. Learn more.

  3. Common Law Marriage in Nevada: Understand the legal standing of common-law marriage in Nevada and how it may impact your relationship and rights. Read the details.

  4. Name Change Las Vegas: Whether due to marriage, divorce, or personal choice, find out the legal process for changing your name in Las Vegas. Start the process.

  5. Nevada Power of Attorney: Discover how to legally empower someone to make important decisions on your behalf with a power of attorney. Understand the specifics.

  6. Family Court Mediation: Explore the process of family court mediation as a way to resolve disputes amicably and effectively. Understand mediation.

  7. Unbundled Attorney: Learn about the option of unbundled legal services, allowing you to hire an attorney for specific parts of your case, potentially saving time and resources. Explore the option.

  8. Nevada Adoption: Understand the legal process of adoption in Nevada, and find out how to navigate the journey to expanding your family. Read about adoption.

Molly Rosenblum, Esq., is committed to providing not just legal services but also comprehensive support through these well-researched resources. Whether you’re dealing with the nuances of family law, navigating court procedures, or understanding legal options, these resources are designed to assist you in your journey. We encourage you to utilize these valuable tools to make informed decisions during these significant life events.

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Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful

Here are seven offsite resources that provide information about filing a motion in a family court case:

  1. FindLaw: This online resource provides free legal information, a lawyer directory, and other resources on a wide range of legal topics, including family law and procedures for filing motions in court.

  2. Justia: Justia offers free legal information and a directory of attorneys for various legal issues, including how to file a motion in a family court case.

  3. Nolo: Nolo provides legal information to consumers and small businesses, including articles, blogs, FAQs, and news on how to file a motion in family court.

  4. American Bar Association: The ABA provides a variety of resources on legal topics, including information on family court procedures and how to file a motion.

  5. Avvo: This website provides a directory of lawyers, legal advice, and other resources on a broad range of legal topics, including how to file a motion in family court.

  6. LegalMatch: This online legal matching service helps individuals find lawyers in their area and provides advice and resources on family law matters, including filing a motion in court.

  7. offers free legal help for individuals with low income, and provides resources and information on a variety of legal topics, including how to file a motion in a family court case.

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A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney

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Molly Rosenblum, Esq

Thank you for taking the time to read through this helpful guide on filing motions in family court.

I know these legal processes can be confusing and frustrating to navigate, especially when you’re dealing with a difficult co-parenting relationship.

At my law firm, we have extensive experience handling contested divorces, custody disputes, and complex family law matters.

My team and I are always ready to listen and provide the knowledgeable legal counsel you deserve during this challenging time.

If you feel your case could benefit from experienced representation as you file motions and go through the court process, please give me a call at (702) 433-2889 to discuss your situation.

I would be happy to talk through your options.

Wishing you the very best as you move forward.

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