Search Tips

Making a Motion in a District Court Civil Action


A motion is a request to the state district court to issue an order for a specific purpose. Motions are made after the summons and complaint are filed with the court. Motions cannot be used to start a civil action.

The party making the motion is called the moving party. The party answering the motion is called the opposing party.

A motion must:

  • Be in writing, unless the motion is made during hearing or trial;
  • Specifically state the legal authority in rule and law that supports the request, and state the specific facts that support the request; and
  • State the relief sought from the court.

A motion is made up of a set of documents, including:

  • Notice of motion;
  • Motion;
  • Brief in support of motion; and
  • Affidavit in support of motion.

Notice of Motion

A required, written notice to the opposing party that the moving party will request an order.


A required, written request to the court for an order. The motion document is a short, plain statement that includes the specific rules and laws that support the request.

Brief in Support of Motion

A required, written explanation of why the moving party should have the motion granted. A brief takes the specific rules and laws that support the request and explains how they apply to the facts of a particular situation. Facts referred to in the brief should also appear in the affidavit.

Affidavit in Support of Motion

A required, written statement of fact of the moving party. Facts referred to in the brief should also appear in the affidavit.

Service of the Motion

Service of the motion requires that the moving party arrange delivery of the motion documents to the opposing party. The moving party is required to notify the opposing party of the motion and to give the opposing party time to respond.

The proof of service of the motion documents tells the state district court when, how, and where the opposing party was served. An affidavit of service gives the court proof of service.

Forms and Guides Making a Motion

Forms are not available for every legal issue or circumstance.  If you do not find the form on this website, the form is not available through the North Dakota Legal Self Help Center.

You may need to create legal documents yourself.  The General-Use forms below may be used as a starting point for creating your own motion documents.

Informational Guide:

Checklists and General Use Forms:

Selected Statutes (Laws) & Rules

Following are legal research starting points related to motions. You may need to conduct additional legal research into your legal issue.  See the Legal Research Section of this website.


Other Resources

Following are other resources related to making a motion that may be of interest.

If you do not understand any of this information, or if you have trouble filling out any of the forms located here, please see an attorney for help.

The information provided on and obtained from this site does not constitute the official record of the Court. This information is provided as a service to the general public. Any user of this information is hereby advised that it is being provided "as is". The information provided may be subject to errors or omissions. Visitors to this site agree that the Court is not liable for errors or omissions of any of the information provided.

If you have a question relating to a case that is already filed please contact the clerk of court for the county.