Unfortunately, some who litigate their divorce in court believe the judge did not get it right. It may be that the judge’s ruling did not consider all the case’s pertinent facts, or they may have made legal errors while considering the matter. Fortunately, the appellant has the right to appeal the trial court’s decision as long as they do it within 30 days of the ruling.
How it works
The Court of Appeals reviews the case, focusing on whether there was a legal error in the judge’s handling of the trial or even a harmful error that impacted the verdict. The Appeals Court can then overturn the trial court’s decision or send the case back to the trial court for a retrial.
Drafting an appeal
Even though the Court of Appeals does not retry the case, the appellant’s attorney must still draft a persuasive brief that:
- Explains why they filed the appeal
- Explains what legal errors the judge committed during the trial or in the ruling
- Provides a record of the trial, transcript and relevant pleadings
- Provides other relevant evidence and documents
The party who agrees with the ruling then has ten days to file a reply brief that argues why the judge got it right. Neither side may file further briefs without leave of the Appellate Court.
Protecting the client’s interests
Not all family law attorneys handle the specialized work involved in appeals, so it is essential to find one with the knowledge and experience to change the ruling or defend the trial court’s decision.