How to Change Your Court Date in New York State


The New York Office of Court Administration has set goals for the timely completion of cases within the court system. Judges are expected to complete cases assigned them so as to meet these goals. When a case appears on a judge's calendar, the parties must be ready to proceed. Postponements delay the progress of the case and are not freely given by judges. A person seeking to change a court date in New York state must follow the rules of the court in which the case is being heard.

  • Ask the court clerk to explain the rescheduling procedures for the judge assigned to the case. Some judges have preferences for how they want requests to be made in their courtroom to change the date. While some judges want the party or the party's attorney to be present, others will allow the request to be made in writing with no personal appearance. The court clerk will know the rules established by the judge assigned to your case.

  • Notify the other party in the case. Whether the request for a change of the court date is in writing or in person, you must notify the other party in advance. Judges are more likely to grant a request to change a court date if the other person in the case consents to it. A phone call notifying the other party of the request is the best opportunity to ask the person to agree to the postponement.

  • Identify the case by name and index number in the letter to the judge. Every case in the New York state court system is assigned its own index number that is used to identify and locate a case. Using just the names of the parties can make it difficult for the court clerk to find the case file matching your letter.

  • Explain to the judge the reason for the change of date. Whether the request is made by letter or in person, the judge will not reschedule a case just because the scheduled date is inconvenient. Postponement of cases is allowed only for good cause such as emergencies or serious illness.

  • Send someone to court to deliver the letter requesting the change of date. If a person fails to appear in court, the judge can grant the opposing party what that person was seeking in the case. This is referred to as a "default judgment." Mailing a letter to the judge requesting that the jurist reschedule the case is risky because, if the letter does not arrive in court, a default judgment can be entered against you. Sending someone with the letter requesting the rescheduling of the case avoids the risk of it not arriving on time.

Tips & Warnings

  • A request to change a court date should be made only in the event of an emergency or serious illness.


  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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