Filing Appeals After Divorce
After a divorce, the parties involved may be extremely disappointed, if not outraged, at the outcome of their case. If you have or expect to be, a person in such a predicament you may be able to change your situation. The potential is having your family lawyer to prepare and file an appeal. The key to achieving success in the appeals process is having a lawyer who is skilled in appellate advocacy strategies and litigation.
How Does an Appeal Work for Family Law Matters?
An appeal is a post-judgment process that is separate from, although obviously related to, your original case. The procedure has minor variations for different types of appeals. In Georgia, there are direct appeal, discretionary application to appeal, and interlocutory application to appeal. In Georgia, an appeal is filed with either the Supreme Court of Georgia or the Court of Appeals of Georgia.
An appeal is reviewed by appellate judges to render a decision as to whether or not they find errors in the findings of the trial court. The appellate review can result in a reversal of the verdict, vacate the original verdict, or send the matter back to the original trial court. Basically, the appellate process is concerned with the judicial process and the proper application of the law. The appellate judges do not get mired in reviewing evidence, testimony, etc.
Direct Appeal in Georgia
Per O.C.G.A § 5-6-34(a), a direct appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date the original court entered the Order. The appeal must be filed with the clerk of court of the specific court where your case was managed.
Discretionary Appeal in Georgia
Per O.C.G.A § 5-6-34(a), a discretionary application must be filed within 30 days of the date the original court entered the Order. The appeal must be filed directly with the Court of Appeals of Georgia.
Appeals in a Georgia Divorce
Per the Divorce Source website, “Many litigants do not understand that an appeal is not just another time at-bat, a second try in hope of a different outcome. Unhappiness with the court’s decision and judgment, the appearance that the property division was not equal, the belief that the judgment is somehow “unfair” – all are not good reasons to appeal.” 1.
Appeals are typically filed to take an extra step towards changing a critical decision that a person believes to be the result of a court error. Some of the most frequently cited reasons for filing an appeal in a divorce are:
- the court incorrectly valued or calculated income, assets, or property
- the court’s decisions were reached based on false or misleading information or evidence
- there is an appearance of misconduct, unfairness, partiality, or inequity in how decisions were made
Appeals are sometimes filed to challenge the basic decisions of the trial judge, however; these appeals are rarely successful.
Modifications Compared to Appeals
In a divorce, rather than filing an appeal, a divorce modification may be filed to change court orders regarding child support and custody. By comparison, filing a request for modification of court order is an easier, faster, and less expensive way to affect your situation.
Can you appeal a modification request that was denied? Yes, it is possible to file an appeal if a request for modification is denied. The FindLaw website, regarding appealing a divorce settlement, states the following, “Settlement agreements usually cannot be overturned on appeal if both spouses agreed to the terms of the settlement unless there were problems with how the agreement was reached or other enforceability issues. 2.
Should You File an Appeal?
The appeals process is relatively difficult, costly, and there are no guarantees for success. Preparing an appeal requires a considerable amount of time to thoroughly research the matter, review applicable laws, and draft a well-composed document. The appeals process for divorce cases can take many months, or even years, to reach conclusion. From a monetary perspective, appeals make better sense when the stakes are high.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File an Appeal?
The objective writers at LegalMatch offer the following advice, “Appealing the divorce can be a very complex undertaking, with a lot of important details to consider and deadlines for filing particular paperwork. Having an experienced divorce lawyer or family law lawyer on your side through the process can give you peace of mind, knowing that your lawyer can steadily guide you through the process and advise you each step of the way on the best way to proceed. You can also feel good about having a professional making sure your appeal is based on solid grounds and filed in a timely fashion.” 3.