When the courts have to make decisions as a part of your divorce through the litigation process, there is always the chance of error. Whether it’s a simple human error, a biased judge, or any other factor that may have contributed to an undesirable or unfair outcome, you do still have an option: appealing your decision and having it reviewed by a higher court. Here is some helpful information about this process, including when it’s advisable that you pursue it.
When Can I Appeal?
It’s important to note that just because you may not like the way something turned out doesn’t necessarily mean you can appeal it. Appeals are reserved for instances in which the judge in your case made an error when coming to their decision, such as giving too much or too little weight to a piece of evidence, or being unable to overcome a predisposed bias. Remember: judges are human too, and just like the rest of us that means they’re also not immune from making mistakes, especially for something so complicated as divorce and family law matters.
It’s important to note that winning an appeals case isn’t easy: you’re only allowed to appeal in a limited number of instances, and even then it takes a pretty substantial amount of evidence to demonstrate your side of the story and have the decision overturned. The most common mistakes that judges make is failing to find enough evidence to support or substantiate their decision, or to misinterpret and misapply the law, resulting in an unfair and unfavorable decision to your case.
If you believe you have qualified grounds to appeal your case, you have a short deadline to file for your appeal: generally between 45 and 90 days depending on the issue you’re appealing. This means you shouldn’t hesitate to serve notice of your appeal as soon as possible.
The Appeal Process
When you appeal your case, you must file your notice with your local circuit court, which also involves purchasing copies of court transcripts to send to the appellate court. You must also file briefs (legal documents) which include statements as to why you believe the judge ruled in error in your case and much more. You’ll also have to serve notice to your ex about the appeal and give them an opportunity to respond to the appeal.
From there, your case will be reviewed by a three-judge panel in the Court of Appeals. If they believe your case warrants a further look, they’ll review all of the briefs and legal documents submitted to them and eventually come to a decision. If they don’t, your appeal will be denied and the original decision will stand. Overall, the appeal process can take up to a full year to complete, so don’t be surprised if this seems like it drags on for a while.
Do I Need an Attorney?
While it’s possible to appeal a decision on your own, it’s not easy to do so, and that means it’s strongly advised you have a Madison divorce lawyer on your side. Having an attorney you can consult with will help you reduce the number of mistakes you may make during the process, ensure you have all of the necessary paperwork obtained, organized, and filed on time, and that your rights are continually represented throughout the process. If you’re working so hard to appeal your case, you should make sure you have every possible advantage to ensure this second opportunity goes your way.Talk to an attorney at Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C. today! Call us at (608) 765-1001 to request a case evaluation.