Phase 3: Post-Trial

Whether you agree or disagree with the judge’s final decision, the judge's order may not be the end of the matter.

Checklist Steps

Whether you agree or disagree with the judge’s final decision, you should pay special 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.

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.  If this has happened to you, you should act quickly to contact legal aid or a private attorney to help you set aside the default judgment. 

Read How to Set Aside a Default Judgment.

If 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 and the other side 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 your case type. For example, you can contact the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division for help enforcing child support orders, and you can file a motion to enforce your right to court-ordered parenting time.

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, and forcing the sale of certain property. 

If you disagree with the judge’s decision, 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.

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.

Also see the Pro Se Appellate Guide and the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section's forms.

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