New Jersey Divorce and Family Law Appeals Lawyer
While most divorce and other family law cases will never go to trial, some issues cannot be resolved outside of litigation. Some of the decisions made by the judge, both during and after a trial or deciding a motion without trial, can be appealed to an appellate court.
An appeal does not constitute a new trial or new opportunity for a motion to be heard, but it is a close review of a narrow set of decisions made by the trial judge to ensure they comply with the law and the proofs produced at trial or during the motion proceedings. An appeal may see an unfair decision in your case overturned. The appellate process is complex and is best handled by a New Jersey divorce and family law appeals lawyer.
Why an Appeal Might Be Necessary
The appeals process is not a “do-over” that allows a discouraged party a second chance in court. There must be viable grounds for an appeal for the request to be successful. In general, these grounds must involve some kind of mistake or incorrect ruling from the judge during a divorce or other family law case.
There are two different types of appeals: interlocutory and final. An interlocutory appeal occurs while the case is still ongoing. This type of appeal is only a possibility under limited circumstances. A final appeal is filed after the judge issues a decision following a trial or deciding a motion without trial. A divorce appeals attorney in New Jersey can help a person identify appropriate grounds for either type of appeal.
One common ground for appeal is the judge’s failure to correctly apply the appropriate law in a particular case. Essentially, these appeals claim the judge either got the law wrong or applied the wrong law in the first place.
An appeal could also be viable if the court failed to address all of the issues in the divorce. For instance, if the court did not resolve all controversies or divide all assets, an appeal could force the court to do so.
There are many decisions a judge makes that are discretionary, but this discretion is not limitless. It is possible to appeal following a judge’s abuse of their discretion. This is the most narrow ground upon which to obtain a favorable result on appeal.
The Divorce and Family Law Appeals Process
There is a strict process for filing an appeal in a divorce case. The failure to follow these requirements to the letter could and often does result in the rejection of an appeal. Complying with these requirements may be possible with the help of a divorce appeals attorney in New Jersey.
The timing of an appeal is important. A spouse must initiate an appeal within 45 days of the entry of the final divorce judgment or order deciding the motion. Initiating the appeal also requires the filing party to request a copy of the trial court transcript. A copy of the filed notice must also be mailed to the trial judge.
Within 45 days of receiving a copy of the trial or motion transcript, the appealing spouse must file their brief with the court. This step includes serving a copy of the brief to the other spouse. That spouse will then have 30 days to respond to the brief. Reviewing a trial or motion transcript, all exhibits, and preparing an appellate brief is an extremely detail oriented and time consuming process.
After the response is filed, the appealing spouse has ten days to submit a reply if they choose. Once all briefs are filed, the court will determine if oral arguments are necessary and ultimately rule on the appeal.
A New Jersey Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Divorce and Family Law Appeals Process
If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of your divorce or family law case, you might have grounds to file an appeal. However, the time frame to file your appeal is short and the process is complex, making it vital that you speak to legal counsel right away. A New Jersey divorce and family law appeals lawyer can help simplify the process and ensure that you meet all of the necessary requirements. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.