How to write an order to vacate judgment

Updated March 28, 2017

A court order is a binding, legal directive from a judge. An order to vacate a judgment voids the legal enforceability of a court judgment. An order can be done by stipulation or through a court hearing. A stipulated order to vacate is used when opposing litigants agree to void a judgment. A judge can also issue an order to vacate if parties disagree. A judge will hold a motion hearing and consider opposing arguments to determine if a judgment should be involuntarily set aside.

Type the name of the court across the top of the proposed order. Include the state, county and district in which the court is located. Type the name of the plaintiff "versus" the name of the defendant below the court information. Include the docket number and the name of the assigned judge to the far right of the parties' names. Type the names and contact information of any attorneys involved in the case and identify which parties they represent. Provide the contact information for any self-represented parties. Run a solid line the full length of the page below all of the above information to break the page into two sections.

Title the proposed order "Order to Vacate Judgment." Place the title one space below the solid line separating the page into two sections. Note in the title if the order is by stipulation. Begin with the applicable introduction of either, "By stipulation of the parties," or "After a hearing within this court." Follow the introduction with the words "It is hereby ordered the following judgment is vacated." Identify the date and title of the judgment being vacated. Clarify if the judgment is being fully vacated or partially vacated. Specifically state which terms are being set aside if the order is only vacating part of the judgment.

Have all parties sign and date a stipulated order. Submit the stipulated order to the court clerk with one companion copy for each litigant. Request that the clerk have the judge review and sign the order. Ask the clerk if the signed order will be mailed back or must be personally retrieved at the court. Have a proposed order present at any motion hearings. Provide copies of the proposed order to all opposing parties at the hearing. Present the order to the judge at the hearing if she agrees to vacate the judgment. Do not forget to obtain a copy of the signed order before leaving the courtroom.

Seek legal advice. Rely on an attorney to answer specific questions about orders to vacate judgments. Ask a lawyer draft a proposed order and appear at any motion hearings. Be aware that different courts follow varying rules regarding motions, orders, and judgments. Check with a lawyer to learn all applicable laws and procedures that affect a particular case.

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About the Author

Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.