Request for an extension of time to respond to a complaint in California

A request for an extension of time to respond to a complaint in California is the topic of this blog post.

A request for an extension of time to respond in California is typically made by filing an ex parte application as the circumstances that necessitate the request usually arise when there is not sufficient time for the request to be heard by filing a noticed motion.

Law authorizing a request for an extension of time to respond to a complaint in California.

A request for an extension of time to respond in California is authorized by Code of Civil Procedure section 1054(a) which allows a judge to grant an extension of tine not exceeding 30 days to respond to a complaint upon a showing of good cause.  An extension of time may also be granted to respond to a cross-complaint as well.

Code of Civil Procedure § 1054(a) states that, “When an act to be done, as provided in this code, relates to the pleadings in the action, or the preparation of bills of exceptions, or of amendments thereto, or to the service of notices other than of appeal and of intention to move for a new trial, the time allowed therefor, unless otherwise expressly provided, may be extended, upon good cause shown, by the judge of the court in which the action is pending, or by the judge who presided at the trial of the action; but the extension so allowed shall not exceed 30 days, without the consent of the adverse party.”

Before filing a request for an extension of time to respond in California most judges want the defendant to first contact the plaintiff or opposing party or their attorney and request that they stipulate to an extension of time to respond to the complaint. If the request is denied that fact should be mentioned in the supporting declaration to show to the judge that you attempted to obtain a stipulation but were unsuccessful.

Common grounds for a request for an extension of time to respond to a complaint in California.

The judge has discretion as to whether or not to grant an extension of time to respond in California.  Most judges would consider that a defendant has established good cause if they can show that they need an extension of time to,

Obtain the funds to retain an attorney;

They have contacted an attorney that needs more time to review the case;

A family emergency requires the defendant to travel out of town, or

A medical emergency involving the defendant such as hospitalization prevents them from filing a timely response to the complaint.

Any declarations supporting a request for an extension of time to respond should include sufficient facts and evidence detailing the circumstances that have necessitated the request for an extension of time to respond.

The request for an extension of time should also state whether or not any previous extensions of time to respond by court order or stipulation have been granted.

An experienced litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine whether filing a request for an extension of time to respond is appropriate.

Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a consultation and evaluation of your case.

Schedule a consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.


Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660


Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.