Hello again. Thank you for clarifying.
Small claims court is not like a regular trial court. In a regular trial court, you would file a motion for a continuance. In small claims court, however, motions are not generally allowed. You will need to contact the court clerk to find out how to request the continuance. I would do so by telephone or in person, however. I would not send letters. Call the court clerk in the small claims division and ask how the court deals with continuance requests. Each court has their own local rules with regard to such matters, so there is no "one size fits all" answer here. You'll need to talk to the court clerk.
If for some reason you cannot get the court date continued, and the plaintiff gets a default judgment against you because you were out of town due to the death in your family, then you can file a motion to set aside the default judgment, and argue that you could not appear due to the death in the family. Default judgments are not favored by judges, so if there is a reasonable explanation for why a defendant failed to appear, the judge will usually set aside the judgment and set a new trial
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