MN Family Law Attorney

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At Court – Motion Hearing

What’s a Motion?

A motion refers to a request made to a judge to do something.

Properly bringing a motion requires strict adherence to rules of drafting documents, adhering to timelines, and following correct filing and service procedures.

Motion hearings in family law cases are not favored by judges. They also are used less than in years past.

What’s a Motion Hearing?

  • A motion hearing in family court is different from a trial.
  • In motion hearings, parties’ attorneys submit documents to the court before the hearing explaining what their side wants and why it should be granted.
  • Except in special circumstances, witnesses do not testify in motion hearings.
  • At the hearing itself, the attorneys will argue before the judge why the relief requested should be granted.
  • The judge will often ask questions of both attorneys to clarify points or to confirm why the requests for relief are justified.
  • After both sides are done, a judge will rule on the motions and decide which ones to grant and which ones to deny. Those rulings from the judge then become binding orders from the court.

Motion Hearings in Family Court: Two Types

In family law cases, most motion hearings fall into one of two categories:

  1. Temporary hearings, or
  2. Post-Decree hearings.

Temporary Hearings

Temporary hearings are just like they sound. They occur during the middle of a proceeding (such as in the middle of a divorce case) and are designed to reach some temporary arrangement while the court proceedings are ongoing. Whatever is decided by the court during the temporary hearing may later be replaced by the final ruling at the end of the case. 

Examples of Temporary Hearings:

For example, a party may try to file a motion for a temporary hearing regarding child support in the middle of a divorce case. Additional examples of things a party may try to file a motion for a temporary hearing include:

  • parenting time,
  • child custody,
  • spousal maintenance, and
  • home access.

Post-Decree Hearings

Post-decree hearings occur after an original case has already been decided, and there is already a court order. 

Most Post-Decree Hearings are either:

  1. Modification, or
  2. Enforcement-Based.

Post- Decree Modification Hearings

Modifications are requests to change something from the original order.

Examples of Post-Decree Modification Hearings:

These typically include:

  • child support,
  • spousal maintenance, and
  • parenting time.

Post-Decree Enforcement-Based Hearings

Enforcement requests are to get the judge to issue sanctions against one party for not following the final court order.

Examples of Post-Decree Enforcement-Based Hearings:

These typically include:

  • child support enforcement,
  • spousal maintenance enforcement, or
  • cases of interfering with parenting time.

 

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