Franklin Family Appeals Attorney
In the best-case scenario, a divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter is resolved collaboratively through negotiations or mediation. That’s not always possible, though, and litigation is sometimes necessary, up to and including a courtroom trial and decision handed down by the judge. Unlike mediation where a win-win solution is sought, litigation is adversarial by nature and often results in a win-lose situation, leaving one party pleased with the outcome and the other party unhappy with the result.
It’s natural for the so-called losing party in a divorce to want to appeal the case and try again. But an appeal is not a second bite at the apple or an opportunity to retry the case to a different judge. Instead, you must have specific grounds to base your appeal on, and even though you can appeal, it’s not always in your best interest to do so.
The Franklin family appeals attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers are experienced courtroom litigators at both the trial and appellate levels. Call us if you are considering an appeal in your Williamson County divorce case or if you received notice of an appeal filed by your former spouse. We’ll help you understand your options and formulate an effective strategy that protects your rights and meets your needs.
When Should I File an Appeal in My Franklin Divorce Case?
If you believe the judge made some error in the trial that affected your case, an appeal might be appropriate. Appellate courts are looking for “legal error,” so this is definitely a topic to discuss with your attorney. Bring us your concerns about the way your divorce trial was handled. We’ll review the trial transcript and look for “reversible errors” that could have affected the outcome. We’ll give you an honest assessment of what we find and let you know whether we think you have grounds to appeal, and what the potential risks and rewards are. If you decide to pursue an appeal, we’ll provide smart, strategic appellate planning and effective advocacy on your behalf.
Common reasons to appeal a divorce include situations where the judge did any of the following:
- Ruled incorrectly on an objection or motion
- Allowed evidence into court that should have been excluded or ruled inadmissible
- Allowed in testimony that was unduly prejudicial to you
- Made a decision that went against the weight of the evidence
- Exhibited conduct that showed bias against you or for the other party
How Do Appeals Work in Tennessee?
An appeal looks very different from a trial. Instead of one judge presiding over the case, you generally present your appeal to a panel of judges. Also, you do not present evidence to the judges by examining witnesses or entering exhibits. Instead, the bulk of your appeal involves preparing a written brief that outlines the error or errors committed at trial and provides compelling reasons why the trial decision should be overturned (if you are the party responding to the appeal, your brief will explain why no error was made or that any error was not prejudicial to the other party).
Sometimes, the appellate judges will schedule a case for oral argument. Having read the briefs, they will provide the attorneys for both parties with an allotted time to present their brief in-person and argue key points, trying to persuade the judges of their position. The judges will often use this time to question the attorneys regarding points made in their briefs or in the briefs submitted by opposing counsel. Oral argument is not ordered in every appeal; some appeals are decided entirely based on the written briefs submitted by the parties.
After reviewing the briefs or hearing oral argument, the appellate panel could choose to affirm the lower court’s decision, reverse it, or order a new trial or other judicial proceedings.
The skills required by an appellate attorney are not the same set of skills needed to be an effective trial lawyer. Make sure the attorney you hire for your appeal has prior appellate experience or excels in the arts of legal research, writing and persuasive argument.
Franklin Divorce & Family Law Appellate Lawyers
Notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the final divorce decree, so don’t delay in talking to an experienced family law attorney about a possible appeal. In Williamson County, call Fort, Holloway, & Rogers at 615-791-7575 to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable Franklin family law appellate attorney.