If you have a final decree or final order in a family law case with an obvious mistake from what the trial court ordered or the parties agreed, you can get it fixed through what is called a Nunc Pro Tunc. The key is that this mistake has to be a clerical error—did it mix up the judgment of the court. It cannot be one that requires “judicial reasoning and determination” or in other words any thought process on the judge’s part. If it is in fact a clerical error, then under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the trial court can fix this clerical error at any time.
What is an Example of a Clerical Error?
In Bernardo Reyes v. Olga Reyes, the Amarillo Seventh District Court of Appeals had to address this issue. In that case, the trial court made an initial order on the record divorcing the parties and making appropriate orders regarding conservatorship and child support. Most importantly, the trial court ordered that mother be the parent who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the children and father to pay child support. The trial court rendered the orders on the record but the final decree was never actually signed by the court until three years later. The problem was that the actual decree ordered mother to pay child support. Mom filed a nunc pro tunc to fix this obvious error. The trial court entered the nunc pro tunc, correcting the error that it was actually father who was supposed to be paying child support. Father challenged that. In reviewing the trial court’s record, the appellate court was able to determine that this was in fact a clerical error and affirmed the trial court’s ruling.