Once the ruling has been handed down, if either party has any objections to the ruling they can raise their concerns in a number of post-trial motions. It is important to note that that along with filing a post-trial motion comes strict time windows to do so. In order to be heard, the post-trial motions should be presented within a timely fashion.
Motion To Reconsider
If a party files a motion to reconsider, what they are asking is for the court to reevaluate the same facts of the case as well as the ruling handed down in the divorce. Common grounds for a motion to reconsider may include an alleged error or a claim that the law has changed. An example of this is examined in re Marriage of Willenberg. The Kansas Supreme Court approved a motion to reconsider, because a mistake was made on the consequences that follow bankruptcy in regards to property division. As stated, this motion asks to reconsider the same facts again, but this motion may not be proper if new evidence is necessary. In re Marriage of Blagg, the court states that other motions are appropriate if new facts are to be considered. However, the demonstration of new law will always be allowed in a motion to reconsider. The court will consider case law that shows an alternate ruling if the motion is submitted on time.
Motion For A New Trial
While a motion to reconsider examines facts already presented, a motion for a new trial typically focuses on something outside the evidence presented. Although the presentation of new facts is generally required when requesting a new trial, a valid excuse for not offering the facts in the first trial is also required. Whether you are claiming misconduct by the opposing side or a substantial change in circumstances, the reasoning behind the motion for a new trial must fit into the grounds listed under K.S.A. S 60-259. Common grounds include new evidence not presented at trial or a claim of prejudice.
The distinct difference between a motion to reconsider and a motion for a new trial is that a motion to reconsider focuses on one aspect of the judgment. A motion for a new trial begs to correct the entire matter because the ruling was flawed. In this case, a re-trial may be necessary whereas in a motion to reconsider a simple modification to the original judgment may suffice.
Motion For Relief From Final Judgment
Once a ruling is handed down, the parties have obligations that are a result of the ruling. If a party is seeking relief from those obligations, a motion for relief from final judgment may be filed. There are 6 grounds that encompass a motion for relief from final judgment, and they will be discussed in detail below. First, if an error is realized beyond the allotted time for a re-trial or reconsideration, then the error may justify relief from final judgment. This same concept is also applicable when new evidence is uncovered. Third, if a party uses fraud, the opposing party may be subjected to relief from the court. Fourth, a party can be granted relief if he or she seeks to avoid a judgment that the court did not have the power to hand down in the first place. For instance, if a federal court grants a divorce, either party would be subjected to relief because federal courts are not permitted to rule on divorce proceedings. Fifth, if the obligation is satisfied or it is not fair for the obligation to continually apply, then relief may be necessary. An example of this involves a scenario of remarrying a spouse. In this scenario, spousal support would no longer be necessary. Lastly, the court may use any other reason to decide whether a party should continue to be bound to an obligation resulting from the divorce.
If a party seeks to change certain parts of a divorce ruling, he or she may do so by filing a request for modification. Child Custody, child support, and spousal support are all allowed to be modified through this request. In regards to child custody, modification is suitable whenever it would be to the greatest advantage of the children, and a parent can demonstrate a significant change in situation. Examples that help this sort of modification may incorporate the imprisonment of the custodial parent or refusal of the custodial parent to respect visitation privileges. Kansas Statute Annotated Section 23-3005 controls the modification of child support orders.
Either parent can request a modification to the child support order, regardless of who was ordered to pay child support. However, there are two criteria that one must keep in mind when seeking to modify child support. First, the child support order can be modified if the order was made more than three years ago. Because conditions are probably going to have changed in such a timeframe, a recalculation of child support owed is warranted. On the other hand, a modification may be necessary inside three years if the party can display a significant change in conditions. Examples of significant changes include changes in employment or changes in custody arrangements.
Lastly, displaying a significant change in conditions can justify a modification of spousal support. Nonetheless, a spouse cannot be ordered to pay more than he or she was originally required to pay as a result of the initial ruling. The court can only lower the amount of spousal support based on a difference in circumstances.
It is important to keep in mind that property division is typically something that cannot be modified through this motion. The thought behind such restrictions is that the property division ought to be resolved at the time of the divorce, in view of those conditions. Any adjustment in conditions is immaterial to conveying property obtained amid the marriage.