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<font size=3><b><i>Minensota family Law Motions for Amended Findings and Appeals in child suport, spousal maintenance and divorce matters</b></i>

Family Law Issues and Post Hearing Motions and Appeals
Minnesota divorce, child support, spousal maintenance appeals and appeal issues

All too often, parties with family law cases complain that the court made errors as part of their divorce case or their family law motion hearing.  Complaints range from concerns about a biased judge, limitations on the ability of parties to present their case because the court limited witnesses or evidence, or a failure to properly consider evidence or to apply the law.  When errors are made, there are remedies.  However,  any remedy requires that the person challenging the order acts swiftly.  A delay in filing necessary motions or an appeal may usurp any opportunity to challenge judicial errors.  The consequences can be long term and severe. 

General Rules of Practice: Title 4, Rule 375 - Clerical Mistakes

Under the Minnesota General Rules of Practice, a Motion can be made after the entry of an order or judgment to correct clerical mistakes.  Clerical mistakes would include:

(1)  typographical errors;

(2) errors in mathematical calculations in orders including orders for temporary support

Such errors may be corrected by the child support magistrate at any time upon the magistrate’s own initiative or upon motion of any party after notice to all parties.  The Motion must be brought within twenty (20) days of the day the parties were served with a Notice of Entry of the order by the Court Administrator. 

To respond to a motion to correct clerical mistakes the party shall perform items (a) through (e) within ten (10) days of the date the party was served with the motion. 

General Rules of Practice: Title 4, Rule 376 - Motion for Review

If a party believes that errors, other than clerical errors were made a motion for review may be filed.   The review is based on the evidence previously submitted and no new evidence is allowed unless subsequently requested by the reviewing judge or Magistrate.  The review will be submitted in writing without any appearance by any party at a hearing and will be heard by a child support Magistrate or a District Court Judge.   the party filing the Motion may request that the motion for review is decided by a District Court Judge.  The request should be included in the Motion.

This is often a precursor to an appeal. Like a Motion to correct clerical errors, the Motion for review must be filed within twenty (20) days of the day the parties were served with a Notice of Entry of the order by the Court Administrator.   If desired, a transcript of the court proceeding may be ordered as part of the review. A Motion for review must:

(a)  state the reason(s) the review is requested;

(b) state the specific change(s) requested;

(c)  specify the evidence or law that supports the requested change(s);

(d) state whether the party is requesting that the review be by the child support magistrate that issued the order being reviewed or by a district court judge;

(e)  state whether the party is requesting an order authorizing the party to submit new evidence;

(f)  state whether the party requests an order granting a new hearing;

(g)  include the acknowledgement as required pursuant to Rule 379.04; and

(h) be signed by the initiating party or that party’s attorney.

To respond to a Motion for Review, a party must respond within thirty (30) days of the date the party was served with the notice.  A response to a motion for review, combined motion, or counter motion shall: (1) state why the relief requested should or should not be granted;

(2) if new issues are raised, state the specific change(s) requested;

(3) if new issues are raised, specify the evidence or law that supports the requested change(s);

(4) state whether the party is requesting that the review be by the child support magistrate who issued the order being reviewed or by a district court judge;

(5) state whether the party is requesting an order authorizing the party to submit new evidence;

  (6) state whether the party requests an order granting a new hearing

(7)include an acknowledgement as required pursuant to Rule 379.04; and

(8) be signed by the responding party or that party’s attorney.  

The reviewing Judge or Magistrate must issue an order on the Motion within forty-five (45) days after the last submission is received.  

General Rules of Practice: Title 2, Rule 115.11 - Motion for Reconsideration

Motions to reconsider are specifically prohibited by this rule except by express permission of the court.  To seek permission to file a Motion for reconsideration, a party must send a letter to the court, serving the other party and show compelling circumstances as to why the Order should be reconsidered.  The letter to the deciding Judge or Magistrate may not be longer than two pages in length.  By the same token, any responses to such requests, shall be made only by letter to the court of no more than two pages in length, and a copy of which must be sent to theopposing counsel or party.    (a)  Standard.  If during a trial by jury a party has been fully heard on an issue and there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for that party on that issue, the court may decide the issue against that party and may grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against that party with respect to a claim or defense that cannot under the controlling law be maintained or defeated without a favorable finding on that issue.

Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 52.02, 59.01 and 59.03 - Motion for New Trial

After a trial, any party may file a motion for a new trial.  Such a Motion for a new trial must be served within 30 days after an order is entered or service of notice by a party of the filing of the decision or order.  It must be heard within 60 days.  In response, the court may amend its findings or make additional findings, and may amend the judgment accordingly if judgment has been entered.  Again, no new evidence is allowed.  The motion must be made on the files, exhibits, and minutes of the court. A new trial may be granted to all or any of the parties and on all or part of the issues for any of the following causes:

(a) Irregularity in the proceedings of the court, referee, jury, or prevailing party, or any order or abuse of discretion, whereby the moving party was deprived of a fair trial

(b) Misconduct of the jury or prevailing party;

(c) Accident or surprise which could not have been prevented by ordinary prudence;

(d) Material evidence newly discovered, which with reasonable diligence could not have been found and produced at the trial;

(e) Excessive or insufficient damages, appearing to have been given under the influence of passion or prejudice;

(f) The verdict, decision, or report is not justified by the evidence, or is contrary to law; but, unless it be so expressly stated in the order granting a new trial, it shall not be presumed, on appeal, to have been made on the ground that the verdict, decision, or report was not justified by the evidence.

On a motion for a new trial in an action tried without a jury, the court may open the judgment if one has been entered, take additional testimony, amend findings of fact and  conclusions of law or make new findings and conclusions, and direct entry of a new judgment.

Appeal - Minnesota Rules of Appellate Procedure

An appeal must be filed within sixty (60) days from the entry of an order or Judgment or from an Order denying the a Motion for reconsideration, a correction for clerical errors, or for a new trial.

The Notice of Appeal must be served on the other party or their attorney and filed with the court along with a $500 filing fee and posting a cost bond of $500 unless waived.

The rules of appellate procedure are very specific and unforgiving.  As a result it is extremely important to have an attorney for such an appeal.  As a general rule, the appealing party must file a brief within thirty (30) days after the transcript of the hearing is delivered to the court.  The responding party has thirty (30) days after service of the appealing party's brief to respond with their own brief.  The appellant has  ten (10) days after receiving the respondent's brief to provide a response.  The party may request oral argument or ask that the Appellate court decide the matter based on written submissions.  

The basis for an appeal must be stated in the Statement of the case and may include reasons such as:

(1) Constitutional arguments related to the subject matter or procedure;

(2) An error of law by the deciding Judge or Magistrate;

(3) An abuse of discretion by the deciding Judge or Magistrate;

(4) The order is unsupported by the evidence;

(5) The Courts Conclusions of Law are unsupported by its Findings of Fact.

Different standards of review apply depending on the issue being presented. Understanding that standard of review is critical to a successful appeal.

If  a hearing is requested and granted, your matter will be heard before a panel of three appellate court judges.  Each side is allowed twenty (20) minutes to argue their case.  After a hearing, the Appellate Court will issue their decision, usually within ninety (90) days after the oral argument.

With decades of experience in appellate matters and Motions for review, we can assist you in determining the proper appellate issues and timely filing of your claim.  Given the long lasting implications of an adverse order, it is important to contact experienced counsel in seeking remediation of court errors. 

For a consultation call (612) 240-8005


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