When a party (or the party’s attorney) does not receive actual notice of an adverse judgment within 90 days of that judgment, the party may make use of Texas Civil Procedure Rule 306a to extend deadlines for filing a motion for new trial or to appeal. But its important that the party invoking Rule 306a file a sworn motion, obtain a hearing on the motion, and get a finding of the trial court as to the date the party (or the party’s attorney) first received notice of the judgement. The Waco Court of Appeals recently explained the consequences of the failure to do so in In the Matter of the Marriage of Rider & Rider.
After Beverly Jane Rider filed an appeal from a final decree of divorce, the clerk of the court noted that it appeared the notice of appeal was untimely. Ms. Rider responded by pointing out that she did not receive a copy of the final decree until 29 days after it was signed and she filed a motion for new trial "pursuant to Rule 306a." Noting that Ms. Rider never obtained a ruling on her motion, the court of appeals points out that she had not fully complied with Rule 306a(5), which requires a hearing, proof, and a ruling. Accordingly, the court holds that the notice of appeal Ms. Rider filed was untimely and the court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The opinion may be found at this link.