Family law practitioners are familiar with the process of moving for new trial or amended findings. They are also generally aware of the fact that such motions need to be served within 30 days after notice of the filing of the court’s decision. As a new opinion from the court of appeals reminds us, however, it isn’t just the timing of the motion that matters – the hearing must be held within 60 days of the notice, unless the court extends the time for good cause.
In Terzo v. Terzo, the district court issued its order on July 21, 2009 and the wife served a motion for amended findings on August 14, 2009, within the 30-day timeframe. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the hearing date was set for October 7, 2009, outside the 60-day window. Because the wife had not requested an extension, the district court did not extend the time and subsequently denied the motion because the hearing was untimely. The court of appeals (after determining it had jurisdiction) affirmed.
The moral of the story – don’t just serve your motion and assume all is well. If the court isn’t able to set a hearing date within 60 days, be sure to request an extension.