In his motion for a new trial, defendant claimed to possess text messages—found sometime after trial concluded—apparently demonstrating (1) sexual infidelity by plaintiff, (2) that plaintiff suffered from undisclosed health concerns, and (3) that plaintiff was deceitful during her trial testimony.
Instead of conducting even a minimal inquiry into whether the evidence that defendant presented satisfied the requirements for a new trial under MCR 2.611(A)(1)(f), the trial court denied defendant’s motion because it believed that the judge that presided over the hearing was capable of properly deciding the case.
But neither the Judge’s judicial qualifications nor the Judge’s high level of comfort are relevant considerations for whether defendant presented newly discovered evidence warranting a new trial.
The trial court needed to review the substance of defendant’s motion and decide whether it satisfied the requirements for a new trial under MCR 2.611(A)(1)(f). By refusing to do so and instead relying on irrelevant considerations, the trial court abused its discretion.
It was at least plausible that defendant’s newly discovered evidence, if considered and found credible, could have impacted the trial court’s marital property distribution and, therefore, required full consideration.
The goal in distributing marital assets in a divorce proceeding is to reach an equitable distribution of property in light of all the circumstances.
One or more of the insinuations of plaintiff’s marital infidelity, undisclosed health issues, or deceitfulness, if borne out, could reasonably result not only in a different custody determination, but also in the trial court altering its decision that it was equitable to equally split the net equity of the marital home.
In order to protect your parental and financial rights, it is important to have an experienced and understanding divorce attorney by your side at every step of the way.
At the Plymouth and Ann Arbor law firm of Aldrich Legal Services, our attorneys have the skill and experience you need to address all family law issues that may arise during your divorce.