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Preparing for Court

After a Decision is Issued

Updated: September 21, 2021

What is a motion to stay? How does it affect the order I am appealing?

When you file to appeal a judge’s order, the act of filing the appeal does not stop the court order that you are appealing from going into effect. The only way that the order would not go into effect immediately is to file a post-trial motion called a Motion to Stay and for the judge to grant a “stay,” which prevents the original order from taking effect while the appeal is going on.

States may each have their own standards for when a stay will be granted but, generally, it is difficult to obtain a stay. For example, in Washington, D.C., a Motion to Stay must show: 1. that your appeal is likely to succeed; 2. that you will suffer irreparable harm if the stay is not granted and the order is allowed to go into effect; 3. that the other party will not suffer undue harm or prejudice if the stay is granted; and 4. that the public interest weighs in favor of granting the stay.1

In many states, you must file this Motion to Stay first with the trial court and, if it is denied, then you would re-file it in the appellate court. It is important to speak with an attorney from your state to find out the specific process, timeline, and criteria for filing a Motion to Stay the trial court’s order.

1  Barry v. Washington Post Co., 529 A.2d 319 (D.C.App. 1987)