What recourse does a party have when they have a judgment that is adverse to their interests? Depending on the circumstances of the case, a party may have several options at his/her disposal. Post-judgment motions are filed after the Court has already entered the judgment in a case. After judgment is entered, parties have a short timeframe to contest the Court’s judgment. However, a post-judgment motion for relief from an adverse judgment often involves complicated legal issues and procedure. Therefore, it is imperative for parties to be represented by an experienced family law attorney. The family law lawyers at Aeschleman Law have the legal expertise to prepare and litigate your post-judgment motion.
Motion for New Trial
After judgment is entered, any party may bring a motion for new trial. This motion is a request to Court that entered judgment to reexamine an issue of fact and then make a modified decision. The following list includes the four principal grounds that a motion for new trial may be granted in a family law action:
- Irregularity in the Proceedings: This exists where the Court abused its discretion and thereby impeded a party from having a fair trial.
- Accident or Surprise: There was an accident or surprise that could not have been prevented by ordinary prudence.
- Newly Discovered Evidence: The moving party discovers new evidence, which with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered and presented at trial.
- Insufficiency of Evidence: The evidence presented by the non-moving party was insufficient to justify the Court’s decision. Or alternatively, the decision was discordant with the law.
- Error in Law: There was an error in law at trial that was excepted to by the moving party.
If you believe that a motion for new trial is appropriate in your case, it is critical that you move quickly. There are immediate deadlines that must be met.
Simply because the circumstances of case may fall into one of the aforementioned categories does not necessarily mean that a motion for new trial will be granted or is event the most appropriate action to take. In order for the Court to grant a motion for new trial, it must believe that the moving party’s rights were materially affected. This generally means that the Court would have arrived at a different decision had the circumstance warranting the new trial not occurred. If the motion for new trial is granted, the previous judgment is vacated in its entirety. This means that the Court will act as if the case had not been previously heard.
The family law attorney’s at Aeschleman Law can help you determine whether your case is appropriate for filing a motion for new trial. Upon determination, Aeschleman Law will prepare the necessary paperwork and aggressively advocate your position.
Motion to Vacate and Enter Different Judgment
Unlike a Motion for New Trial, which is granted when evidence does not support the Court’s statement of decision, a Motion to Vacate and Enter Different Judgment is appropriate when the evidence does support the Court’s statement of decision but not its judgment. This motion seeks to have the old judgment overturned and a new judgment entered. This is a nuanced issue that requires experienced family law attorneys to review your specific case.
Motion to Set-Aside
Under Family Code §473(b), Courts have the power to relieve a party from a “judgment, order, dismissal, or any other proceeding that was against a party on the basis of the party’s mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. Mistake is based on mistake of fact or mistake of law. The legal definitions of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect and their application to a case requires sophisticated analysis.
Post-Judgment motions have strict deadlines and procedures that must be followed. If you believe that a post-judgment motion may be appropriate, contact the attorneys at Aeschleman Law or another experienced family law attorney to evaluate your case.
Aeschleman Law is located in San Jose and serves Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Mateo Counties. Call us today for an initial consultation at (408) 724-8930. You may also contact us by filling out the form on the bottom of this site.