Legal Question in Family Law in Minnesota

is there such a thing as a miss trial in a custody/divorce trial?

Asked on 12/10/11, 10:42 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Jesperson Minnesota Lawyers - Jesperson Law Offices

Not exactly. Depending on the issues that were tried, the typical remedy is to bring a motion for "amended findings or new trial." This is a motion that is addressed to the judge who conducted the trial. The purpose of the motion is two fold: First, it requests that the court modify its order and/or hold a new trial because of irregularities at the original trial; Second, it can be an important step in preserving issues for a later appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. If the trial court does not amend its order or grant a new trial, you can then appeal to the Court of Appeals. You are not required to bring a motion for amended findings/new trial before bringing an appeal to the court of appeals, but it is usually wise to do so.

You need to be aware that there are very strict deadlines for these remedies. A motion for amended findings/new trial must be served and filed within thirty days of the date the trial court filed its "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree." (Actually, it must be served and filed within 30 days of a "notice of filing," but to be safe, you should start counting days from the date the Judgment and Decree was filed.) The motion must also be heard within 60 days of the date the Judgment and Decree was filed.

If you do not return to the trial court with a motion, you can go straight to the court of appeals, but you must do so within 60 days of the date the court files its Judgment and Decree.

If you miss these deadlines, you generally cannot contest the trial court's decision. This answer is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice, because this is an area of the law in which you should most definitely seek the advice of an attorney. The deadlines here are very strict, and the procedures suggested in this answer are not simple. It is especially important to move quickly.

I see from your zip that you are in Olmsted County, with which I am very familiar. In general, cases move quickly in Rochester, but if you are going to schedule a motion for amended findings, you should still do so promptly, to ensure it can be heard within the time limits required by the procedural rules.

Good luck. Feel free to contact my office if you have further questions or concerns.

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Answered on 12/10/11, 11:51 pm

Maury Beaulier612.240.8005 Minnesota Lawyers

No. A Mistrial is a potential procedure in a criminal cases.

In a civil case, such as a divorce or custody case, a party may file post decree motions or seek to appeal any order that they deem flawed based on law and/or procedure. A party may file a motion for Amended Findings and/or a New Trial. They may appeal from any subsequent order or they may appeal directly from the decree (which is generally less advisable).

For a consultation call 612.240.8005 or visit

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Answered on 12/12/11, 11:16 am

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