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When to File a Motion for Reconsideration: A Guide for Texas Residents

Judges make mistakes. Helpfully, court rules allow parties to ask a judge to take a second look at an issue. The judge might recognize the error and change their mind.

A person can file a motion to reconsider when they believe a judge overlooked an issue or did not discuss relevant law. At The Law Office of David J. Rodriguez, PLLC, we have filed many motions for reconsideration on behalf of clients. These are complicated motions to bring, and you should hire the right attorney. Reach out to David Rodriguez, a San Antonio family lawyer, for assistance with your case.

When is It Appropriate to File a Motion for Reconsideration?

You should consider whether to file a family law motion for reconsideration to:

  • Address a change in the controlling law for your case. Family law changes regularly. A judge might have used the old law to decide an issue regarding child custody, drug testing, paternity, or division of community property.
  • Consider newly discovered evidence. New evidence might have come to light, which would prompt a judge to view an issue differently.
  • Correct obvious errors of fact or law. The error needs to be obvious. And it must relate to a fact or the law, not a judge’s opinion or interpretation of events.
  • Prevent manifest injustice. This sometimes happens in criminal cases. In a family law case, a grave injustice might arise if a judge denies paternity based on a faulty DNA test or something of that magnitude.

Time to File

The relevant rule is Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 329b, which states:

  • You must file the motion within 30 days after the order or judgment is signed, and
  • Your motion should be in writing and signed by your or your lawyer and should point out specifically which parts of an order or judgment should be changed.

If you are asking the full appeals court to reconsider its judgment, then you must file a motion for en banc reconsideration within 15 days of the court of appeals’ judgment or order. (Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 49.1.) You should certainly have a lawyer help you file a motion for reconsideration with the appellate court.

What to Include in the Motion for Reconsideration

The content will depend on the judgment or order you want a judge to reconsider, as well as the grounds.

For example, if the controlling law has changed, you should include the court opinion. Remember, controlling law must come from a higher court. You can even include a printed copy of the court’s opinion to make things easier. You will also need to spell out for the judge how the change in law warrants a modification of the order.

If you found new evidence which was not previously available, then you would want to include a description for the judge. This new evidence might be new testimony from a previously unknown witness, or new test results.

If the judge made an obvious error, you should point it out and provide supporting authority. Obvious errors of fact are that—factual mistakes, no differences of interpretation.

A manifest injustice is harder. This is rare in the family law context. In criminal cases, a manifest injustice might be a conviction for a crime when new evidence.

Can You Appeal Motion for Reconsideration?

Yes. If a judge denied motion for reconsideration, you might ask a higher court to review for abuse of discretion. A trial court cannot act arbitrarily or without reason, and judges must follow guiding legal principles.

Hiring a Family Law Attorney

You should be leery of any motion to reconsider templates that you find online. It’s probably not helpful or tailored to your case. There are so many situations where you might request a reconsideration of an order that a template would be quite useless.

Call our firm if you are considering filing a motion to reconsider or wish to see an example of motion for reconsideration. These are technical legal documents. A judge will not be impressed with a handwritten letter of motion for reconsideration or one that lacks proper legal argument.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

If you are unhappy with a judge’s decision or order, it might be time to consider filing a motion for reconsideration. At the Law Office of David J. Rodriguez, PLLC, we handle the full array of family law issues, including divorce and child custody. We stay abreast of all changes to the law and will ensure your rights are protected. Call us for your San Antonio family law case