Earlier we discussed the fact that the way someone in a divorce case cans seek help from the Judge is by filing a custom-made set of papers called "a motion."
But how can somebody who is already divorced get help from a Judge?
It's the same concept: prepare and file a motion.
In the case of someone who is already divorced, the motion that needs to be prepared is known as a "post- judgment motion."
A post-judgment motion can be filed for many reasons. This is because many things happen to people after they are divorced.
A few examples are:
Post-judgment motions for a modification of alimony.
Post-judgment motions for a modification of child support.
A post-judgment motion for modification of custody or parenting time.
A post-judgment motion for modification of parenting time.
A post-judgment motion to force the ex-spouse to comply with a particular provision of the Matrimonial Settlement Agreement or the Judgment of Divorce.
A post-judgment motion to end a supporting spouse's obligation to pay alimony to the former supported spouse based upon co-habitation of that former spouse in avoidance of re-marriage, or based upon retirement of the supporting spouse.
A post-judgment motion to require the other spouse to contribute a fair and reasonable amount toward the college education costs of a child.
The list goes on and on.
The procedure for filing a post judgment motion is the exact same as the procedure for filing a motion during the divorce. The person who needs help prepares a notice of motion, a certification, perhaps a case information statement. Appropriate exhibits are attached. Perhaps certifications of others with personal knowledge of the situation may be prepared and attached. Photographs. Facebook posts. You get it...
These documents are served upon the other litigant and the other litigant files a response or maybe even a cross- notice of motion asking the Judge to deny the relief being sought by the ex-spouse but instead order relief that the cross-moving party is seeking.
Then the original person, the one who first filed, gets to reply by filing a "reply certification", often with more exhibits attached.
Oral argument is scheduled, usually on a Friday, although judges often come up with tentative decisions that they send out prior to the Friday.
If both parties read the tentative decision and realize that the judge has really analyzed things carefully and is unlikely to change her mind at oral argument, they can then waive oral argument and simply accept the tentative decision. In that case, the judge would sign it and send it out to the parties.
On the other hand, if one or both people still disagree with the judge's reasoning and think that they have a chance to change the reasoning, oral argument is that opportunity.
At oral argument, the court may start by giving some directions like saying something like “I’ve read all the papers; please don’t regurgitate them to me.
Rather, tell me what you think I’m missing in my tentative decision and try to change my mind.” Sometimes it works; sometimes it does not work.
Either way, the court will ultimately enter a written order in that order is enforceable.
The person who feels that day lost the motion always has the right to appeal. Or that person can file a motion for reconsideration (both of which will be topics discussed here on another day.)