Family Law Appeals

Family Court Appeals Lawyer in Dallas, Frisco, & Plano Texas

When the divorce process ends and the family law judge issues a final order, one or both of the parties may be unhappy with the result and want to appeal. The Texas Family Law Code provides a process for appealing, but the appeal must be based on objections to how the judge ruled, not just that the appealing party is miffed by the court’s decision.

Grounds for Appeal

The appellate court does not take any new evidence and its role is to review the trial court record. It determines, based on the issue presented to it by the person appealing, called the appellant, if the trial court made an error. Generally, trial court errors that may be brought to the attention of the appellate court include:

  • The trial court erred by allowing, or not allowing, certain evidence to be presented.
  • The trial court interpreted the law incorrectly, leading to an erroneous result.
  • The trial court abused its discretion.
  • The trial court made an error in its findings of fact.
  • Even if it seems there are grounds for appeal, the decisions of the trial judge must have been brought to the court’s attention in order to give it a chance to rectify its error. For example, if an attorney objects to a court’s ruling and the court overrules the object, the issue has been preserved and can be presented to the appellate court. Another way an issue can be preserved is to file a motion in the trial court asking for a new trial, a motion for it to modify its decision or by filing objections to the court’s written “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.”

Even if the appellate court agrees that an error was made, it will not reverse the decision unless it decides that, without the error, there is a substantial chance the outcome would have been different.

Does the Order Have to be Followed During the Pendency of the Appeal?

In addition to filing a Notice of Appeal, the attorney should also ask the trial court to stay, or postpone, enforcing the order from which the appeal is taken. The court may or may not comply with the request, depending on the nature of the issue which is the subject of the appeal. If the court refuses to issue a stay, the order must be complied with.

How Does the Process Work?

The appealing party files a brief in the appellate court explaining what the error was and why the order should be reversed. The responding party has a certain amount of time to file a brief presenting his or her position that the trial court’s order was correct.

The court may or may not schedule an oral argument. If oral argument is scheduled, it is a hearing where the attorneys for each side present their argument and answer questions asked by members of the appellate court panel. No new evidence can be presented. The parties are not required to attend this hearing and, if they do go, they are only observers to the process and do not participate.

The appellate court has no deadline within which it is required to issues its written opinion. It may be days, weeks or even months.

If you are unhappy with the final order in your divorce case, or your spouse has filed a notice of appeal and you want to respond to the appeal, you need to contact an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. There are strict time limits for when you must file a Notice of Appeal. If you miss the deadline, you lose forever your right to object. Contact divorce and family law appeal lawyer Jeff Anderson now and he will start the appellate process for you immediately. Jeff Anderson is an aggressive lawyer who is known for getting his way in the court room. With over two decades of experience in family court and Texas Board certification, Anderson is your best choice.

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