SUNNYVALE, CA, August 02, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Many family law cases do not end in a way that satisfies everyone. Sometimes, both parties are unhappy with the results. If you believe the court made the wrong decision in your case, it might be possible to appeal it. However, there are very specific guidelines that you must follow in order to make an appeal.
Texas family law appeals are complicated and time sensitive. Therefore, it is important to speak with a family law attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and the options for appeal.
Can You Appeal Your Family Court Judgment?
Simply being unhappy with the decision of the family law court is not enough for you and your Houston family law attorney to bring an appeal. Rather, you can bring an appeal if you believe the trial court made a "reversible error."
A reversible error occurs when the trial court did not follow the law, abused its discretion or misapplied the law, and its actions led to an outcome that caused you harm.
An appellate court reviews the case exactly as it was presented to the trial court to determine if the trial court made a legal error. Potential errors include:
- The trial court judge used the law incorrectly or applied the wrong law to the case
- There was an error in the findings of fact (for example, the court believed that some facts were more important than they actually were)
- The judge abused his or her discretion
Strict Deadlines! Act Quickly to File Your Appeal.
The right to bring a family law appeal does not last forever. In fact, there are time-sensitive deadlines (called "statutes of limitation") that everyone must meet. If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to bring an appeal, and the trial court judgment will be considered final. That is why it is vital to act quickly to preserve your right to appeal.
The deadlines vary depending on the appeal, but they are all short. For example, for most regular appeals, you only have one month to file a notice of appeal after a judgment is signed. That is why it is important to contact a family law appeals lawyer as soon as possible.
You must have raised a complaint in trial court in order to bring an appeal related to that complaint. This is called "preserving error" and "preserving the issue for appeal." For example, if you think the opposing party is presenting questionable testimony, you must object to that testimony and have the trial court rule on your objection in order to bring an appeal related to the testimony. Similarly, if you think the judge has made a mistake, you must object to that mistake during the trial in order to appeal your case based on that mistake later on.
Other ways of preserving error include:
- Filing a motion for a new trial
- Filing a motion to modify, correct or reform judgment
- Filing requests for findings of fact and conclusions of law
It is important to act quickly if you believe the trial court made an error and you wish to preserve that error. If you do not timely preserve the error, it will be lost and you will not be able to bring it up during the appeal.
How Can You File a Family Law Appeal?
If you wish to bring an appeal for a family law matter, you and your attorney must file a written notice of appeal with the trial court clerk within the timeframe allowed for an appeal. There is a very short amount of time to file an appeal and if you miss it, you will be out of luck. Among other things, the notice must identify the trial court, the date of the judgment/order, the name of the parties and the name of the appeals court. You must also serve the notice of appeal on the parties involved in the case.
Once you have filed the appeal, your next step is to get the record of your case. This includes the court's record and any transcripts from the case. Your family law attorney can help ensure you obtain the full record, and can write a brief that explains the error made by the trial court. This brief must be served on the opposing party. He or she can then write a response to your brief.
You or the opposing party can also request oral arguments if you would like to argue your case before the appellate judges.
What Are the Possible Appeals in Family Law?
Motion to reconsider: By bringing this motion, a party asks the trial court to review its ruling. It allows the party to file an additional brief that clearly details the party's legal argument.
Motion for new trial: Before filing an appeal, a party may file a motion for a new trial to ask the trial court to correct a mistake it made and to preserve error for the appeal. Filing a motion for a new trial also extends the amount of time someone has to file an appeal. A trial court has the discretion to set aside the judgment and grant a new trial. As in every appeal, there is a short timeline for bringing a motion for a new trial. Act quickly to avoid losing your chance to appeal.
Motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV): Before an appeal, a party may bring a motion for JNOV. Through a JNOV, the trial court judge may overturn the jury verdict if there is no evidence supporting the jury finding on an important issue, the evidence is in the motioning party's favor, or the evidence does not raise an issue of material fact.
Motion to disregard jury findings: This motion requests that a court disregard certain jury findings (due to lack of evidentiary support) while entering judgment on the additional findings.
General appeal: These are appeals brought after the trial court has issued a final judgment.
Accelerated appeal: Accelerated appeals take precedence over other appeals. They include appeals related to the termination of a parent-child relationship, the placement of children with the Department of Family and Protective Services, child custody and child support.
Restricted appeal: These appeals directly question a family court's judgment when the error appears on the face of the trial court record. A person who did not timely file a post-judgment motion can bring a restricted appeal.
Interlocutory appeal: These are appeals filed during your family court proceedings and before a final judgment has been issued. These are generally only used for issues concerning appointment of a receiver or trustee.
Motion for Entry of Judgment: After a party prevails on the issues at trial, it can move for the trial court to render judgment. This motion preserves error in cases where the trial court changes or dismisses the proposed judgment. Depending on the results of the trial, however, a motion for entry of judgment may also waive a party's ability to challenge a decision on appeal.
What if You Lost Your Case Immediately After Trial Began?
If your case was a bench trial, a Texas appeals attorney can help you request findings of fact and conclusions of law, which may extend your time for filing an appeal. This is also necessary to preserve error for certain types of appeals.
Can the Court Enforce Judgments During the Appeal?
An appeal does not necessarily stop the trial court from enforcing your family court judgments. The court can enforce orders, such as spousal maintenance orders, during the appeals process. However, some orders may be suspended.
The trial court may also issue any temporary orders that are necessary to protect the parties and preserve property. For example, a court may award one party exclusive use of the house, appoint temporary conservators, require temporary child support payments, and issue a restraining order in domestic violence situations.
Accepting the Benefits of a Judgment: Estoppel to Appeal
If you are considering appealing an issue in your case, you must be careful with what you do regarding any award you receive. For example, if you accept the benefits of the award, you may waive your right to complain about that award. It is very important to speak with an attorney before doing anything with the award you have received.
There are only two exceptions to what is called the "acceptance of benefits doctrine," and they are narrow exceptions. They include: 1) accepting only the benefits that the receiving party would have been entitled to upon retrial, and 2) accepting benefits out of economic necessity.
Should You Hire an Attorney to Help You With Your Appeal?
The decision of a trial court can significantly impact a family. If the court has made a legal mistake, the error may be reversed through the appeals process.
You must meet the strict deadlines for bringing an appeal. If you miss the deadlines, you can lose your right to appeal.
Family law appeals are complicated, with many formalities and deadlines. Whether or not you worked with an attorney during your family law case, you should act now to hire a Texas family lawyer for your appeal. An attorney can help you review your record and determine whether you have sufficient grounds for an appeal.
If grounds exist to appeal your child support, child custody, divorce or other family law case, your attorney can ensure that the appellate court receives all of the necessary documents on time and is made aware of the problems that occurred during your trial.
More information on http://www.k-hpc.com/
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