Motion For New Trial
The law in California allows you to file a motion for a new trial in your divorce case so that an issue of law or fact related to your case can be re-examined by the court. Broad discretion is given to the courts to re-evaluate the evidence, disbelieve witness testimonies, re-weigh credibility, and act as the 13th juror in the case.
Either party to the divorce judgment can bring a motion for a new trial. A notice of motion (notice of intent) must be served on each party as well as filed with the court to initiate the process. The notice must specify the grounds for seeking a new trial and must inform whether the motion will be raised on court minutes, affidavits, or both.
The motion for a new trial must be filed on or before (whichever of the following occurs earlier):
- 15 days from the date when the notice of entry of judgment has been mailed by the court clerk
- 15 days after the service of notice of entry of judgment by one party on the other
- 180 days from the date of entry of judgment
This time limit cannot be waived and will not be extended even if the both parties agree for an extension.
If you are filing a motion for a new divorce trial on the grounds of newly discovered evidence, or surprise or accident, or abuse of discretion or irregularity in the divorce proceedings, you will have to submit supporting affidavits. If you are filing the motion on any other grounds, you can make it on court minutes, including documents and depositions provided at the divorce trial and the reporter’s transcript. In addition, every motion for a new trial should include a “memorandum in support.”
Grounds for a New Trial Motion
The California Code of Civil Procedure specifies 7 grounds on which you can file a motion for a new trial. These include:
- Irregularity in the divorce proceedings related to the court, any order of the court, jury, adverse party, or abuse of discretion, which prevented a fair divorce trial for either party.
- Surprise, accident, and newly discovered material evidence, which could not have been found or presented at the trial with reasonable diligence.
- Jury misconduct (any one juror’s affidavit may prove such misconduct).
- Insufficient or excessive damages.
- Mistake of law that occurred during the trial and excepted to by the applicant.
- The verdict or a decision is in violation of the law, or there is inadequate evidence to justify it.
- Newly discovered evidence, which is material for the applicant, and which they could have found and presented at the trial with reasonable diligence.
Work with a Dedicated Family Law Attorney to Appeal a Divorce Judgment
If you are dissatisfied with your final divorce decree in California and believe that the court could have made a mistake, you should speak to a focused and knowledgeable divorce lawyer in Orange County.
Appealing divorce rulings in California are a serious and complex matter, with numerous elements to be considered and strict deadlines for filing paperwork. Your attorney will help you navigate the process successfully and provide you the right legal advice at every step so that you have a strong case for appealing the judgment.