After the court hands down its decision in a civil or criminal court in Tennessee, you have the right to appeal. An appeal isn’t a second try at getting the case resolution you want. The appeals court won’t listen to the presentation of evidence or receive witness statements. In this post, we consider at least seven things to ask yourself before appealing a legal ruling.
If you decide to appeal the court’s decision, an appeals lawyer presents your case. Evidence presented at the original trial, including trial transcripts, is used. To win an appeal, your attorneys must show that mistakes occurred at some point in the original trial.
Should You Appeal a Family Court Decision?
Judges are human. They make errors. If the judge makes a mistake in your trial, an inappropriate decision may result. Whether the result stems from a mistake in fact or Tennessee law, you received an unfavorable decision in family court. You have the legal right to appeal. To do so, you need an experienced appeals attorney to take your case to a higher court.
Question 1. Is it possible to appeal my family law or divorce case?
Many cases may be appealed under Rule 3, Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedures. The law guarantees consideration by the intermediate appellate courts but not all cases should be appealed. Consult an experienced appeals lawyer to discuss your matter.
Question 2. How does an appeal case differ from the original trial?
At your original trial, the family court judge heard witness testimony and directly considered the evidence. In contrast, no witnesses or experts are heard in appellate court. The appellate panel is assembled to review briefs of the original case. If required, the panel may request oral arguments as well.
When is a Case Eligible for Appeal?
An appeal must be filed within thirty days of the original trial court judgment. If you don’t file the appeal within this strict time frame, you lose the opportunity to appeal forever. You may want to appeal the Family Court’s decision about:
• Division of assets
• Child support
• Child custody
• Paternity questions
• Spousal support
If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of the original case, the Supreme Court won’t consider this sufficient grounds to file an appeal. Realize that filing an appeal might not be in your best interests.
Question 3. Does your current family lawyer believe the court made errors in fact or law?
You must make a qualitative assessment of the case facts. It may be in your best interests to engage an experienced appeals professional. Ask about the attorney’s successful track record in appellate work. Many family lawyers don’t engage in the highly complex rigors of the appeals process.
Appeals Process Analysis
Vision tends to be perfect in hindsight. Do you believe that a divorce lawyer didn’t bring accurate and relevant information to the family court or that the judge simply overlooked the evidence? Such a scenario may warrant the submission of an appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Question 4. Did inadmissible evidence influence the Family Court’s decision of your original case?
You will need a thorough evaluation of your case to answer this question. Call an experienced appeals lawyer right away.
Question 5. Was some type of bias against you or another party present in the first trial?
Again, an experienced appeals attorney should evaluate your matter before assuming that bias was present.
Question 6. Was there a recognizable mistake in procedure at the first trial?
You may believe there was a recognizable mistake in the trial. Discuss your matter with an experienced appeals professional as soon as possible. Your window to file an appeal is relatively short.
Appeal a Divorce or Family Court Decision in Tennessee
The laws of Tennessee provide you with the firm right to appeal your divorce or other family law matter. A panel of three judges is assembled to consider the appellate case. Three outcomes are possible in the appeals process:
• Your original ruling is upheld
• Your original ruling is reversed
• The case may be remanded (returned) by the appellate court to the lower court.
• The appellate judges may provide specific instructions about the conclusion of the case or require further proof to be heard on certain aspects of the appeal.
Question 7. Are you pressed for time?
Filing an appeal can take time in Tennessee. After the notice of appeal is filed by your appeals lawyer, the court has up to sixty days to gather the records. Both sides of the matter have 30 days to present briefs to the appeals court.
Appeals Timeline in Tennessee
If filing an appeal is your next best step, act now. Contact a Tennessee family law appeals lawyer to handle your appeal now. You aren’t required to continue with the attorney who first represented the case in family court.