Skip to main content

Civil Litigation in Texas: After the Trial

Court How-Tos (Civil Procedure)

The judge may have ruled in the case, but the matter might not be over.

This article provides a brief overview of actions that can be filed in Texas civil court after a trial—such as setting aside a default judgment, modifying an order, enforcing an order, or appealing an order.

Deadlines matter. Pay attention.

Whether you agree or disagree with the judge’s final decision, pay ]attention to the deadlines that apply to post-trial action. These deadlines will tell you how long you must wait before your judgment is no longer eligible for appeal.

Appeal standards are very complex and often overwhelming for non-attorneys. You should talk to an attorney about your case if you want to appeal the judge’s decision, or if the other side has an attorney to help them appeal a judgment in your favor. 

Setting Aside Default Judgments

If you were given improper notice about a case that resulted in a default judgment against you, then you may be able to have that decision set aside.  Getting a default judgment set aside is not easy and is best done with the help of a licensed attorney.  

Act quickly to contact legal aid or a private attorney to help you set aside the default judgment.  


Rarely you can modify or correct a court order. For example, sometimes there is a clerical error in the order. It is also possible to change a custody or support order under the right circumstances


f you agree with the outcome of your case, you may still need to take extra steps to enforce the judge’s order after it is signed. 

Read the court order closely so that you understand what must be done to comply with the court order. Make sure you understand your obligations as well as the other side’s obligations to you. Look for deadlines that tell how long you each have to comply with the court order. 

If the other side does not comply with the court order by the deadline, you may file a Motion to Enforce or a similarly titled document to tell the judge that the court order is not being followed.  What you file to enforce a judgment and the specific enforcement process will depend on the type of case you have.  

In general, to prepare to bring an enforcement action, gather any evidence that shows the other side is not following the court order. Based on this evidence, the judge will decide what steps are appropriate to make the other person obey the court order. Possible penalties for ignoring a court order can include fines, property liens, collection of property by a peace officer, license suspensions, or forcing the sale of certain property.  

Some examples of enforcement cases are child support enforcement; custody and visitation enforcement;  and justice court order enforcements


If you disagree with the judge’s decision then you may be able to appeal it.

An appeal takes place when an appellate court reviews what happened in the trial court. If the appellate court believes the trial court made a mistake (called an error) and believes the mistake made a difference in the outcome of your case (harmful error), the appellate court can change the trial court’s decision or send your case back to the trial court to be tried again. 

Read Appealing a Judgment in Texas

For more information about appealing your case and about civil litigation in Texas, visit your local law library and review the following resources: 

There are also books of legal forms called litigation guides and practice manuals. 

Related Guides

  • I want to file a Motion to Enforce Visitation.

    Child Custody & Visitation

    If you have a Texas divorce or custody order that lets you spend time with your child—but the other parent won’t allow it—this guide can help you s...
  • I want to correct a clerical mistake in a judgment.

    Court Basics

    If you've found an error on a written court order, use this guide to ask the court for a corrected document.
  • I want to set aside a default judgment.

    Court How-Tos (Civil Procedure)

    This guide explains how to ask the judge to set aside (cancel) a judgment made in a lawsuit if you did not participate.
  • Related Articles