How to Set Aside (Cancel) a Family Law Order (2022)

To ask a court to set aside (cancel) a court order or judgment, you have to file a “request for order to set aside,” sometimes called a “motion to set aside” or “motion to vacate.” The terms “set aside” or “vacate” a court order basically mean to “cancel” or undo that order to start over on a particular issue. When you ask the judge to cancel a court order, the judge will make the decision to cancel it (or not) based on your request, the other side’s response, and the law.

Keep in mind that we will use the word “order” to mean both “court orders” and “judgments.”

When can I file a request to set aside or cancel an order?

A request to set aside an order is complicated. And the law only allows a judge to set aside to set aside (cancel) a judgment or court order in very few situations. You have to tell the judge what law applies to the facts of your case, and why you think your situation fits the law.

If you do not have a good legal reason to file a request for order to set aside and you do it anyway, the judge may order you to pay the other party’s ’s lawyer fees and costs to respond to your request for order. So make sure that you understand your situation and the law before you file a request for order to set aside a court order.

This section will give you general information only. Talk to a lawyer if you need advice related to your situation. If you have the kind of case that your court’s self-help center or family law facilitator helps with, you may be able to get help there. You may also be able to hire a limited-scope lawyer to help you with just certain parts of your case while you handle the rest.

Important: Keep in mind that a request for order to set aside is not the same as an appeal or a request for reconsideration. Those 2 procedures have different legal requirements and deadlines. It is important you do not confuse them because you may miss a deadline if you use the wrong procedure for your situation.

(Video) Setting Aside a Court Order In Your Child Custody Case

If the other side in your case has filed a request to set aside (cancel) an order and you want to oppose it, you will find instructions to guide you on the pages that discuss the steps for each type of request.

Legal Reasons to Set Aside (Cancel) a Judgment or Order

Here are the most common legal reasons to ask a judge to set aside (cancel) a judgment or another type of court order:


The order was made against you because of your own “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.” The law discussing this is Code of Civil Procedure, section 473(b).

  • This means if a court order order was made against you because you:
    • Misunderstood the facts or the law and your misunderstanding was reasonable and justifiable (and more than just not knowing the law), or
    • Were unexpectedly surprised or failed to act in time because you relied on someone else acting, or you had the wrong information, or you were unable to understand what to do.
    • For these situations, and other similar ones, you must have had a valid reason for your actions (or inaction).
  • There is no clear-cut description of what a judge will agree is a valid reason to set aside an order in these cases. In your paperwork, you will have to (1) describe, as clearly as possible, why you did not answer the papers in time, (2) explain why you had a good reason or excuse, and (3) why you should be allowed to respond to the original petition or other document and participate in your case.
  • Talk to a lawyer, your court’s self-help center or family law facilitator for help explaining your reason for asking to set aside the order.
  • The fact that you are self-represented is not an excuse for making a mistake.

Deadline to file the request for order:

  • The deadline for filing a request for order to set aside under this law is 6 months from the date the order was made against you. Deadlines can be tricky to figure out so make sure you get help to find out the exact deadline for your situation.
  • You have 6 months to file the request for order, BUT you should do it as soon as you realize the mistake. The law says you must do it within a reasonable time, which means as soon as is reasonable once you realize that an order was made. Do not wait to the end of the 6 months if you found out much sooner that the order was made!
  • You must file AND serve the request for order within these 6 months. Look at the instructions below regarding “service."

Click to learn how to file a request for order to set asidein a family law case. Click to learn how to respond to a request for order to set aside.

Important: For requests to set aside in a divorce or legal separation case, click hereto learn how to file a request. Click here to learn how to respond to a request.

(Video) Order After Hearing on Motion to Cancel (Set Aside) Judgment of Parentage in CA Court (Form FL-278)

You did not receive notice of the summons and petition in time to file a response or act properly. This is for default judgments only (a default judgment is made when the respondent in a case does not respond to the petition and “defaults”). The law discussing this is Code of Civil Procedure section 473.5.

(Video) Order After Hearing on Motion to Set Aside Support Order in California Family Court (Form FL-367)

  • This means that you did not actually receive or see a copy of the summons and petition. For example, if the summons and petition were served by posting the papers at the courthouse or by publishing them in a newspaper, it is possible you never saw the documents or knew that they were filed.
  • In your request to the court, you must explain that the fact you did not receive notice of the summons and petition was NOT due to your own inexcusable neglect or because you avoided getting served.

Deadline to file the request for order

You must file a request for order to set aside under this law within a reasonable time—BUT there are strict deadlines:

  • You must file the request for order to set aside within 2 years after the date when the default judgment was entered against you.
  • The deadline is sooner if the court files show that you were served with a written notice of entry of that default judgment. In this case, you must file the request to set aside within 180 days from the date you were served that notice.
  • Although you may have up to 2 years, you have to act within a reasonable time. Do not wait to file once you find out about the judgment. Act quickly.
  • You must file AND serve the request for order within this time period. Look at the instructions below regarding “service."

Click to learn how to file a request for order to set aside. Click to learn how to respond to a request for order to set aside.

Important: For requests to set aside in a divorce or legal separation case, click hereto learn how to file a request. Click here to learn how to respond to a request.

The judgment against you was obtained by actual fraud, perjury, duress, mental incapacity, mistake, or a party failed to comply with disclosure requirements when the judgment was entered.

These legal reasons to set aside a judgment in divorce, legal separation or annulment cases are based on Family Code sections 2120 and 2122. Requests to set aside based on these laws are complicated and have different requirements. Talk to a lawyer for more information or ask your court’s self-help center or family law facilitatorto find out if they can help you.

(Video) Setting Aside Family Law Judgments In California

Here is a brief description of the legal reasons for this type of request to set aside and the time limit to file your request under each reason:

  • Actual fraud: where one spouse or partner was kept from having information or from participating in the case through fraud. You must file the request for order to set aside within a year after you discover, or should have discovered, the fraud.
  • Perjury: where one spouse or partner committed perjury (made false statements on purpose) in the preliminary, final, or waiver of financial declarations of disclosure or income and expense statements. You must file the request for order to set aside within 1 year after you discover, or should have discovered, the perjury.
  • Duress: where one spouse or partner was kept from participating because of duress (for example, threats of violence or harsh treatment meant to make you do something you don’t want to do). You must file the request for order to set aside within 2 years after the entry of judgment.
  • Mental incapacity: where one spouse or partner was kept from participating because of mental incapacity. The request for order to set aside must be brought within 2 years after the entry of judgment.
  • Failure to comply with the requirements of financial disclosure: where one spouse or partner discovers the other did not comply with the disclosure requirements. You must file the request for order to set aside within 1 year after you discover, or should have discovered, the failure to comply with the financial disclosures.
  • In judgments by agreement (stipulated) or uncontested: where there was a mistake made by one or both parties. You must file the request for order to set aside within 1 year after the entry of judgment.

Click to learn how to file a request for order to set aside. Click to learn how to respond to a request for order to set aside.

Important: For requests to set aside in a divorce or legal separation case, click hereto learn how to file a request. Click here to learn how to respond to a request.

Click to learn aboutrequeststo set aside an orderin a child support case.

Click to learn aboutrequests to set aside an order in a spousal or partner support case.

There are other legalreasons toask for a request for order to set aside a judgment or an order. Here are the main ones in family law cases:

  • Request for order to set aside a judgment for parentage (paternity). For more, read about cases where parentage has already been established by court order.
  • Request for order to set aside a default judgment under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This applies when a default judgment is entered against someone in the military, active or within 60 days of ending his or her service. It allows the servicemember to file a request for order to reopen the case if being in the military had a significant effect on that person’s ability to participate in the case and the servicemember had a legal defense to the case. The servicemember must file the request for order to set aside within 90 days of ending his or her military service. Click to learn how to file a request for order to set aside. Click to learn how to respond to a request for order to set aside.
  • Request for order to set aside based on equitable relief. These types of request for order are based on the court’s power to ensure court orders are fair and the parties had a fair opportunity to participate in the case. These requests to set aside are hard to make and apply in very limited cases. Talk to a lawyer for more information or ask your court’s self-help center or family law facilitatorto find out if they can help you.
(Video) How to set aside, revoke, or vary a protection order

FAQs

How do you set aside a court order? ›

How do I apply for a set aside? You need to ask the court for a general application form called an N244. You should fill in the N244 to include the information the court asks for. You may be able to contact the court by email.

Can you overturn a family court order? ›

The court's decision is usually final. In certain circumstances you may be able to appeal the court's decision. You can only appeal in very limited circumstances, for example if the judge made a very serious mistake or because the judge did not follow the proper legal procedure.

How do you cancel a court order? ›

If you don't agree with what the court staff decide, you can write to the court and ask them to reconsider the order. You must do this within 14 days of the date of the new order being made. You don't have to pay a fee to ask the court to reconsider the order and you don't have to use a special form.

Can you break a family court order? ›

A court order made in the family court is held to be legally binding and must be complied with at all times unless there is a reasonable excuse for not doing so. Going against a court order is a serious offence and if one party has broken a court order there can be serious consequences.

How do you put a charge order aside? ›

Applying for the charging order to be set aside

If a final charging order has been made, you might be able to apply to the court to have it set aside. This means the debt goes back to the judgment stage and your creditor will have to reapply to the court if they want to take further action.

How much is the fee for N244 form? ›

Complete form N244, explaining why the CCJ should be set aside and return it to the court. There's a fee of £275 to pay. However, if you're on a low income, you may be able to apply to get help paying this fee. It's also a good idea to let the creditor know you're applying to set aside the CCJ.

Can you cancel a parenting order? ›

You can apply to the court to change (vary) or cancel (discharge) a Parenting Order and an Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians if it's no longer working or you don't need it anymore. You must have a good reason to change or cancel the Order.

Can a family court hearing be Cancelled? ›

The decision to postpone a court hearing is solely at the discretion of the Judge. The courts are encouraged to deal with cases swiftly and efficiently as delay can have a detrimental impact on all parties and, in particular, any children that may be involved in the proceedings.

How do I cancel a child arrangement order? ›

Can a child arrangement order be revoked or reversed? If both parents agree, then alternative arrangements can be put in place. If there is no agreement between the parents, then an application to court can also be made to discharge an order already in place.

Can a court order be Cancelled? ›

Apply in writing to the court in which the order was given stating that you wish to make an application to have your order varied or discharged. Your application should explain how your circumstances have changed since the original order was made and the reason why you believe it should be varied or discharged.

Can you cancel an order legally? ›

Under the Consumer Contracts (Information Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, unless an exception applies, if you are a consumer you have a cooling off period during which you are entitled to cancel your purchase if, for any reason, you decide you no longer want the goods or services.

Can you change a court order? ›

If you still cannot agree, seek legal advice and consider making an application to the court. If the court has made an order, you must do what the order says, even if you disagree. If you wish to change the order, you should consider applying to vary or discharge the existing court order.

What happens if a mother breaks a court order? ›

This means that if either parent breaches that order, then they will be in contempt of court. The consequences of being in contempt of court are fines, enforcements orders and even imprisonment although in reality the latter is rare.

What happens if a parent breaks a child arrangement order? ›

If you do not do what the child arrangements order says you may be made to do unpaid work or pay financial compensation. You may also be held to be in contempt of Court and imprisoned or fined, or your assets may be seized.

What happens if you go against a family court order? ›

A court order is legally binding. Failure to comply with the court order amounts to contempt of court and a person can, as a last resort, be committed to prison for contempt. A parent cannot be held in contempt though simply for failing to take up the contact given.

How long does it take to remove a charging order? ›

If the court allows the Charging Order, the Interim Order will change to what is known as a Final Charging Order. Interim orders are requested without a court hearing and they're usually granted within 21 days. After which, the debtor will have 28 days to object to a Final Charging Order being issued.

Can I submit N244 form online? ›

It is best to use the official form of application notice N244 . The court office will give you a print of the form or you can download it, where you can complete the form online before printing it off, if you wish.

Can a judge set aside his own order? ›

"As soon as the judgement is pronounced or order is made by the court, it becomes functus officio (court ceases to have control over the case and has)... no power to review, override, alter or interfere with it," a bench of justices C K Thakker and D K Jain observed.

How long does a N244 take? ›

How long does the N244 process take? Emergency hearings can happen quickly, sometimes within 24 hours of a successful N244 application. Only when submitted to the court and used correctly will an N244 form delay or stop the proposed repossession.

Who should be served with N244? ›

At Section 9, the applicant must state who the application should be served upon. The general rule is that the application should be served upon the respondent to the application. The respondent is the person against whom the order is sought.

Where do I send my N245 form? ›

The defendant must send the completed N245 to the court that issued the judgment, along with the court fee.

Can a mother break a court order? ›

What happens if a parent breaks a court order? A child arrangements order or other type of children law order (such as a specific issue order or prohibited steps order) is legally binding. If a parent breaks or breaches a children law order then they will be in contempt of court.

How long does a family court order take? ›

There is no standard time frame and it can take between 6 to 12 months to achieve a final order. In most cases, it will take around six to eight weeks from when you first apply for the preliminary court hearing (step 4 above) to take place.

Can a child be removed on a supervision order? ›

A supervision order doesn't give the local authority parental responsibility and doesn't allow them any special right to remove the child from their parent. The parents keep parental responsibility but mustn't act in any way against the supervision order.

What happens if you ignore court order family court? ›

Contempt can be punished by a fine or up to two years in prison. Contempt of court is not a criminal offence, even though it is punishable by imprisonment.

What age can a child refuse to see a parent UK? ›

There is no definitive answer as to what age children are able to refuse contact with either parent. The bottom line is, as under the Children Act, that wishes and feelings will be taken into account in child arrangement disputes, in light of the child's age, maturity, and best interests.

Can a family court hearing be adjourned? ›

However, in most cases, the court will adjourn on the request of both parties. If the other party does not consent to the adjournment, you will have to write to the court setting out in full your reasons for seeking an adjournment. You may need to make a formal application and pay fees to be able to do this.

Can I change child arrangement order? ›

Change or enforce an order. You can change an existing court order or consent order. You can also ask a court to enforce an order if your ex-partner is not following it. If you ask the court to change or enforce an order, you'll probably have to go to a court hearing.

At what age does a child arrangement order cease? ›

A Child Arrangements Order expires when the young person reaches the age of 18. You can only apply for a Child Arrangements Order for a child aged between 16-18 in exceptional circumstances.

Can you withdraw a c100? ›

A person who seeks permission to withdraw an application must file a written request for permission setting out the reasons for the request but that request may be made orally to the court if the parties are present (FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 29.4(3)–(4)).

How long is a court order valid? ›

This is an order that will usually last between 6 and 12 months. There are occasions when it can be made for longer and/or applications for extensions to the length of the order can be made.

Can a court order be challenged? ›

A judgement/decree can be challenged in the first appeal on varied grounds, both on basis of facts of the case and as well the legal interpretation of various legal provisions involved.

What is a N244 form used for? ›

Make an application to a court ('application notice'): Form N244. Use this 'application notice' to ask a court to set aside or vary a judgment, or suspend an enforcement process.

Whats a good reason for Cancelling an order? ›

I changed my mind” is the top reason for cancelling an order, according to Statista. High shipping costs and long delivery time are other popular reasons. Customers cancel orders because they feel buyer's remorse, usually immediately after they hit “buy”.

How long do I have to cancel an order? ›

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have the right to cancel an online order as soon as you place it or from 14 days after you receive it. As part of these regulations, you should get a refund within 14 days of the retailer receiving the goods or you giving evidence that you've returned them.

What are cancellation rights? ›

If goods are faulty and you complain quickly enough you will usually have a right to reject them and get a refund.

What form do I need to change a child arrangement order? ›

Apply for a court order to make arrangements for a child or resolve a dispute about their upbringing: Form C100. Apply for a 'child arrangements', 'prohibited steps' or 'specific issue' order under the Children Act 1989. You might be able to apply online.

What happens if someone doesn't pay a court order? ›

If you don't, the court can: take the money from your wages or benefits. send bailiffs to your home to collect what you owe - you'll have to pay bailiff's fees as well as your outstanding fine.

What is a variation order in family law? ›

What is a Variation Order in the Family Law? A Variation order basically allows the non-resident parent to apply for the variation application to change the terms of the order relating to the child e.g., parenting arrangements or support in case the circumstances have changed.

Can a court order be ignored? ›

Deliberately breaching a court order may be in contempt of court. Sanctions for contempt of court include: Imprisonment. Fines.

How long do you have to contest a court order? ›

If you disagree with the judge's decision

You might be able to appeal - you'll need to do this within 21 days of the court's decision. You'll also have to pay a fee unless you're getting help with court fees. You need to ask the court's permission to appeal.

What is a reasonable excuse for breaching a contact order? ›

Such a reasonable excuse could be that the child was unwell or there were transport problems. The Court will not make an Enforcement Order if the person in breach can prove that they had a reasonable excuse.

Can the police get involved with a child arrangement order? ›

It is important to note that generally, the police will not get involved in breaches of court orders where the child is with a person with parental responsibility, even if you make allegations of abuse.

What powers does a Family Court have? ›

The Family Court and Family Division deal with all kinds of legal disputes to do with children and the breakdown of relationships. Most seriously, the Family Court will deal with cases where the government (local councils, in practice) intervenes in a family to protect children from harm.

Can you overturn a Family Court order? ›

The court's decision is usually final. In certain circumstances you may be able to appeal the court's decision. You can only appeal in very limited circumstances, for example if the judge made a very serious mistake or because the judge did not follow the proper legal procedure.

Can you ignore a Family Court order? ›

A court order made in the family court is held to be legally binding and must be complied with at all times unless there is a reasonable excuse for not doing so. Going against a court order is a serious offence and if one party has broken a court order there can be serious consequences.

Can you appeal a Family Court order? ›

Yes. The respondent may disagree with the decision of the lower court, or want to uphold that decision but for different reasons than those given by the judge. They will need permission to appeal, just like you.

What does it mean to have an order set aside? ›

Cancelling a judgment, order or a step taken by a party in proceedings.

Can a court order be lifted? ›

In short, yes. If you are a person protected by a restraining order, you can apply to the court to have it discharged/revoked.

Can a court order be altered? ›

No Criminal Court can alter, modify or review it's own order. Leave granted. A First Information Report being FIR No.

Can someone ignore a court order? ›

Contempt is considered an offense against the administration of justice, so a finding of contempt usually results in a fine. Nevertheless, it is also possible for jail time to be ordered in certain circumstances. These are in addition to, and not a substitute for, compliance with the Court order.

Can you submit Form N244 online? ›

It is best to use the official form of application notice N244 . The court office will give you a print of the form or you can download it, where you can complete the form online before printing it off, if you wish.

What happens after judgment is set aside? ›

If the judgment is set aside, you and the creditor are put back in the position you were both in immediately before the judgment. This means if you have an argument or 'defence' against the judgment which you didn't get a chance to raise when the claim was first issued, you have a second chance to do this.

Can a court order be reviewed? ›

Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.

What if ex partner breaks court order? ›

If the Court is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that your ex-partner failed to comply with the Child Arrangements order, it can impose an enforcement order requiring your ex-partner to complete unpaid work. The Court will primarily consider the welfare of the children.

What do you do if you disagree with a court order? ›

You can do this simply by asking the judge to give you permission to appeal during the hearing in court. Alternatively, you can ask the court for permission to appeal at a hearing if there is one coming up before the deadline for the appeal to be made.

When can an order be modified? ›

Sometimes a court order becomes stale or circumstances change and an existing court order or judgment is no longer appropriate. Under those circumstances, you must modify the order, either via consent or by filing an application with the court requesting that the order be modified.

Can a family court review its own order? ›

Yes, The Presiding Officer Of a Family court on such application madet o him by any of the aggrieved party can is under legal obligation to entertain such an application seeking a review of his own judement, decree, or order.

Videos

1. How to Set Aside a Child Support or Spousal Support Order in California Family Court (Form FL-360)
(My Court Coach)
2. Motion to Set Aside Judgment | Explained Simply (Civil Procedure)
(Crushendo)
3. Can You Get a Custody Order Set Aside if You Were Not Notified?
(Command the Courtroom)
4. The Key To Setting Aside A Default Judgment
(Alabama Consumer Protection Lawyers)
5. How to CANCEL 🙅‍♀️ a Support Order Based on PRESUMED Income in California Family Court (Form FL-640)
(My Court Coach)
6. Family Law 101: What to Do When a "Default Judgment" has Been Entered Against You
(The Otto Law Group)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated: 11/19/2022

Views: 5857

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.