Written by attorney Ryan Michael Reppucci

Motions for Reconsideration in Arizona Family Court Cases

Rule 35 (d), Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (ARFLP), governs Motions for Reconsideration of Family Court Rulings. In relevant text, Rule 35 (d) states:

A party seeking reconsideration of a ruling of the court may file a motion for reconsideration. All motions for reconsideration, however titled, shall be submitted without oral argument and without response or reply, unless the court otherwise directs. No motion for reconsideration shall be granted, however, without the court providing an opportunity for response. A motion authorized by this rule may not be employed as a substitute for a motion pursuant to Rule 82(B), 83, or 86, and shall not operate to extend the time within which a notice of appeal must be filed.

Rule 82 (B), ARFLP states:

Upon motion of a party made not later than fifteen (15) days after entry of judgment the court may amend its findings or make additional findings and may amend the judgment accordingly. The motion may be made with a motion for a new trial pursuant to Rule 83. When findings of fact are made, the question of the sufficiency of the evidence to support the findings may thereafter be raised whether or not the party raising the question has made in the superior court an objection to such findings or has made a motion to amend them or a motion for judgment.

Rule 83, ARFLP states in relevant text:

A ruling, decision or judgment may be vacated and a new trial granted on motion of the aggrieved party for any of the following causes materially affecting that party's rights:

  1. irregularity in the proceedings of the court or a party, or abuse of discretion, whereby the moving party was deprived of a fair trial;

  2. misconduct of a party;

  3. accident or surprise which could not have been prevented by ordinary prudence;

  4. material evidence, newly discovered, which with reasonable diligence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial;

  5. error in the admission or rejection of evidence or other errors of law occurring at the trial or during the progress of the action;

  6. that the ruling, decision, findings of fact, or judgment is not justified by the evidence or is contrary to law.

Finally, Rule 86, ARFLP states in relevant text:

No error in either the admission or the exclusion of evidence and no error or defect in any

ruling or order or in anything done or omitted by the court or by any of the parties is ground for

granting a new trial or for setting aside a verdict or for vacating, modifying or otherwise

disturbing a judgment or order, unless refusal to take such action appears to the court

inconsistent with substantial justice. The court at every stage of the proceeding must disregard

any error or defect in the proceeding which does not affect the substantial rights of the parties.

Your Reconsideration motion, without acting as a substitute motions pursuant to Rule 82(B), 83, or 86 listed above, should specifically demonstrate why based upon the evidence presented, the Judge's decision should be modified. It is important that you do not include evidence that was not presented during your hearing. Such evidence can and will not be used by the judge in determining the merits of a reconsideration motion. Often reconsideration motions are extremely specific and require inclusion of relevant case and statutory precedent. Because of this, it is recommended that you meet with and retain an experienced Family Law attorney to assist with preparation of your reconsideration request.

Finally, It is important to note, that a request for reconsideration does not thwart or stop the appellate process. Meaning that a person would still need to file a notice of appeal within the proscribed period to preserve that right in the event the reconsideration motion is denied.

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