Whether it is a divorce or another family law case, if you do not like the final decision made by the courts, it is within your right to appeal the decision. This means going back to court to argue the decisions in hopes to get a better one. However, while everyone has the right to appeal a legal decision by the courts, it is a process that is often highly misunderstood. This is why before beginning an appeal, you need to make sure you have all the proper information on the process.
What Decisions Can Be Appealed?
Only the last order of your case can be appealed. This means any temporary order will remain just that until the case is finalized. The courts obviously don’t want to hear the same decisions argued over again. This means if you are unhappy with a temporary decision put into place, you need to wait until your case is over and finalized before you can appeal the decision. In some cases, temporary orders may be disbanded on their own before the case is even over.
Timeline to Appeal
The timeline in which you can appeal a family law case is relatively short. For most issues such as divorce decisions, you only have 60 days to file your notice of appeal. However, this doesn’t mean you can wait until the 59th day and still be fine. If you are unhappy with a decision and if the idea of appellation is even floating around in your head, you need to discuss it with your lawyer as soon as possible so the process can begin. This is also important to consider for other family law issues, such as child protection decisions as the timeline is shortened even further to 20 days to appeal.
Is the Cost Worth It?
In an effort to prevent frivolous appeals or those motivated purely by vengeance, the appeal process is actually pretty costly. This is something that many are often very surprised to discover when they look into appealing a decision. However, if you believe that the law was misapplied to your case or you simply believe a better decision can be reached, it is still worthwhile to pursue an appeal.
In order to prepare for the appellate court, you will need to receive a copy of your trial transcripts and pay a filing fee as well as a cost bond. One top of that, you will also need to pay the legal fees for your lawyer who has to represent you and create the appellate brief, one of the most technical documents that family lawyers have to draft. The costs add up, which is why it is important to leave the original trial with the decision you want and evaluate if an appeal is really necessary.
What Needs to Happen Before the Appellation Process?
In Minnesota, before your appeal can even go to court, you must first abide by a new rule that states you have to first go through mediation. This will slow things down, but it has been found by numerous family law firms that mediation actually helps those seeking an appeal come to a decision they are happy with and avoid some of the higher costs of the appeal process. While accepting a compromise might seem like accepting a lesser result, often if can be a way to make both parties happy and stay out of the courtroom.
Seeking an Appeal?
Are you unhappy with your previous family law decision and unhappy with the lawyer who let it happen? If you are seeking to start the appeal process and believe a different lawyer will suit your family law case better, contact us today.