If you have gone through a contested divorce but cannot live with the settlement, you have the option of changing your divorce decree. Although appealing a divorce is not always the best way to changing the terms of your agreement, it is an option in some cases. In a divorce appeal, you must argue that the judge made an error in approving your divorce settlement. This may be an issue of law or a decision regarding terms of your divorce, such as the amount of alimony payments or child visitation hours.
The skilled Huntsville divorce appeal attorneys at New Beginnings Family Law can review your case and determine whether you have the premise for an appeal. Regardless of whether our family law firm originally handled your divorce, we can gather the records for your case, consider the evidence and decisions made, and help you move forward in pursuit of a fair decision.
With more than a decade of experience helping Alabama residents through the divorce process, our team provides top-notch representation and compassionate service. Because many of our attorneys and staff have dealt with family law issues of our own, we understand what you are going through and can help you focus on the future. Schedule a consultation today by calling (256) 518-9529 or filling out our online form.
Can You Appeal a Divorce Decree in Alabama?
Appealing a divorce decree means taking your case to a higher trail court and asking it to overturn the decision of the judge that presided over your divorce trial. This is no simple matter. By law in Alabama, judges sitting for a higher court, or appellate court, must start from the position that the divorce trial judge was probably correct.
How Easy is it to Appeal a Divorce?
Initially after a judge hands down your divorce decree, you (through your divorce lawyer) may file a motion asking the judge to change his or her decision based on having made an error. Your motion, filed within a strict deadline, would ask the judge to alter, amend, or vacate (throw out) the divorce settlement he or she has approved. It is not hard to understand why such post-judgment motions rarely succeed.
The next step is to appeal to a higher court, the five-member Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, which sits in Montgomery. This requires filing a notice of appeal within 42 days of the date of your divorce decree, which triggers the process of releasing records of the initial trial for review by your attorneys. To be successful, an appeal must show that the original divorce trial judge made an error in his or her conclusions based on the law.
The appeals court panel of judges will review existing records and your attorney’s brief explaining what you believe is the error that led to your faulty divorce decree. The panel may choose to hear oral arguments. No new evidence or testimony is considered.
The appeals court may come to one of two conclusions:
- Uphold the original divorce settlement, deciding there is no reversible error
- Overturn the divorce decree and remand the divorce case, directing the lower court to reconsider the issue at hand with the higher court’s instructions for interpretation
- Can also reverse one order on issues of law
Once an appeal has been decided by the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, it is theoretically possible to appeal further to the Alabama Supreme Court if you remain unsatisfied. However, the Supreme Court has the right to refuse cases and only takes cases involving serious issues of constitutional or state law.
The Huntsville divorce appeal attorneys at New Beginnings Family Law can meet with you to discuss your divorce agreement and identify potential problems that could support an appeal. If upon reviewing your files, we see that there has been a reversible error, we are well-equipped to move ahead aggressively for you. We also have the knowledge and experience to determine with you whether there are other, more efficient ways to meet your goals, such as asking the court to modify your divorce agreement.
Contact us now to discuss your questions and concerns.
Mistakes Made in Alabama Divorce Appeals
Although any error may be appealed, what is likely to be of most circumstance in terms of your divorce are mistakes in:
Get Help Appealing a Divorce in Huntsville
Because there is a strict time limit on how long you have to file an appeal of a divorce decree, it is important that you speak with our knowledgeable Huntsville divorce appeal lawyers as soon as possible. We will thoroughly review the details of your case and walk you through all your options for moving forward.