It can be devastating when the judge’s decision in a divorce trial does not go your way, especially when your spouse is unreasonable or your children’s well-being is at stake, but the law allows you to appeal a decision with assistance from an experienced family attorney who can handle matters sensitively.
Turn to a skilled divorce appeals lawyer in The Colony for help. A local legal professional can identify legal errors or bias at the trial level and ask a higher court for a review of the decision. You would not have taken your divorce case to trial if the stakes were not high, so appealing an unfavorable decision often makes sense.
The law provides a short window to file an appeal to a family court decision. In most cases, the appellant, meaning the spouse seeking the appeal, has only 30 days to submit a notice of appeal. The other side then has 14 days to file a cross-appeal.
The clock on divorce appeals starts the day the judge signs the order, so consulting with an experienced attorney in The Colony immediately is critical. It could take some time for a legal professional to analyze the decision, find indicators of error or bias, and research the law to ensure the appellant has sufficient grounds to appeal.
Although a litigant must file a notice of appeal quickly, the process for the appeal to be considered is slow. It could take a year or more for the appellate court to decide on the appeal, and often the appellate court sends the matter back to the trial court for further proceedings, causing even more delay.
An appellant must demonstrate the trial judge made an error of law at trial or abused their discretion, meaning they were biased or made a decision without sufficient factual support. Some divorce appeals are based on legal errors, but more often they focus on how the judge interpreted, analyzed, or weighed information presented at the trial.
Many divorces go to trial because the couple has complicated finances and cannot agree on a fair division of property. An appellant might contend the judge misinterpreted an accountant’s testimony, assigned an incorrect value to specific property, or unfairly included separate property as community property.
Conservatorship and possession of children and matters relating to child support may be the subject of judicial bias or error. A judge might have ignored evidence of spousal misbehavior affecting the children or failed to fully consider the children’s accustomed lifestyle when calculating child support. An attorney in The Colony could prepare arguments in a divorce appeal that identify judicial errors and persuade appellate judges to correct them.
Appellate courts will usually not consider new evidence when hearing an appeal, but when there is evidence the other side engaged in fraud or intentionally concealed relevant evidence, an appellate court might consider the evidence. If the appeals court agrees that the other side misrepresented or hid evidence, it is likely to send the matter back to the trial court to reconsider.
In some cases, a petition to modify a court’s order is a better choice than an appeal because the costs of an appeal and the limited likelihood of success make filing an appeal unwise. Although Texas Family Code §9.107 prevents modification of a property division award, the law allows parties to seek modification of alimony, child support, or the parenting plan regarding possession and conservatorship.
A petitioner must demonstrate that changed circumstances justify the modification in most cases. Even though the petitioner usually cannot file a modification request until at least a year after the judge issued the original order, a modification is still likely to be faster than an appeal. A divorce appeals lawyer in The Colony could determine whether modification is a better choice than appealing an order.
When you are unhappy with a judge’s decision, and there is evidence the judge was biased or made a mistake, you could have grounds to appeal.
Appeals are expensive and time-consuming, so you should carefully consider your options before pursuing one, especially because the emotional and financial stakes in a contested divorce are so high.
A seasoned legal professional could evaluate your chances of success and guide you through the process. You have a very short window to file a notice of appeal, so schedule a consultation with a divorce appeals lawyer in The Colony today.
Our Law Firm’s approach to your case is based on individual circumstances. Whether it is a simple negotiated settlement, or it requires an aggressive approach, we will protect and defend your best interests.