If you are considering filing an appeal in a family law case, we are here to help. There are strict deadlines to take action. To arrange a fully confidential consultation with a top Wisconsin family lawyer, please contact our Madison law office at (414) 453-0800.
What You Need to Know About Appellate Law in Wisconsin
There are few things more frustrating than an unfavorable verdict in a family law case. The unfortunate reality is that courts and judges sometimes make mistakes. The appellate law process exists to give parties an opportunity to challenge legal errors and get justice. That being said, the family law appeals process is complicated. It is important to understand how it works.
An appeal in a family law case is not a new trial. It is not a “do over.” Instead, an appeal is an opportunity to challenge a material legal error, a misapplication of the law, or other serious flaw in the legal process. With very limited exceptions, you cannot introduce new evidence on appeal. The appeal is largely restricted to reviewing the trial court record as it exists.
Understanding the Grounds for Appeal in a Family Law Case
As noted previously, you cannot effectively appeal a family law verdict simply because you are dissatisfied with the initial decision. You must be able to raise clear, specific, and well-supported grounds that the initial verdict/judgment/order was fundamentally flawed. Some notable examples of grounds for appeal in a family law case in Wisconsin include:
- Misapplication or misinterpretation of the law;
- Abuse of judicial discretion;
- Other serious legal errors or process errors.
If you are considering filing an appeal in a family law case in Dane County, our Madison, WI family law appellate lawyers are prepared to review your case and evaluate all possible grounds for filing an appeal.
We Handle the Full Range of Family Law Appeals in Madison
In Wisconsin, parties also have the right to appeal a final order in a family law case. If an adverse (unfavorable) order has been entered against you—perhaps in a divorce or custody matter—you can appeal the decision. In some circumstances, parties can also appeal a non-final order in a family law case in Wisconsin. Non-final orders are essentially preliminary decisions. You do not have the automatic right to appeal non-final orders. In general, you will need to prove that a non-final order carries the risk of irreparable harm to be eligible to file an appeal. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., our Madison appellate lawyers represent clients in all aspects of family law appeals, including:
- Divorce appeals;
- Property division appeals;
- Alimony (spousal support) appeals;
- Child custody appeals;
- Child support appeals;
- Paternity appeals; and
- Restraining order appeals.
An Overview of Family Appeals Process in Wisconsin
The appellate law process is notoriously complex. As there are specialized rules and procedures that apply, parties to an appeal should always retain the services of experienced appellate lawyers. Here are four key steps of the family appeals process in Wisconsin:
- File a Notice of Appeal: You must file a notice of appeal to preserve your right to appeal an unfavorable family law verdict in Wisconsin. For final orders, you have 90 days to file a notice of appeal. However, that deadline decreases to just 45 days if you received a Notice of Entry of Judgment.
- Submit the Appellate Brief: The appellate brief is the most important part of a family law appeal in Wisconsin. For the most part, the appeals process is handled on paper. Within an appellate brief, your Madison, WI family appeals lawyer will make your case—including raising and supporting your selected grounds for appeal.
- Attend Oral Argument (If Necessary): An oral argument may or may not happen as part of a family appeal in Wisconsin. When necessary, the appellate court may call the parties to an oral argument to address questions that remain unanswered.
- Await the Decision: Finally, you will need to await the decision from the appellate court. In general, it takes an appellate court six to nine months to render a decision. If the court rules in favor of the party that filed the appeal, it will also include instructions on how the matter should be addressed. The case may be returned back to the lower court for reconsideration.
How the Madison Family Lawyers at Karp & Iancu Can Help With an Appeal
Appellate law is complicated. If you are considering filing an appeal in your family law case, it is imperative that you have an experienced professional on your side. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., we have deep experience with complex family appeals in Wisconsin. You do not have to go through the process alone. Among other things, our Madison, WI family law appeals lawyers are ready to:
- Listen to your story, answer your questions, and explain your right to appeal;
- Take immediate action to preserve your right to file an appeal;
- Evaluate your case to help you determine if an appeal is the best option;
- Carefully review the record and prepare a thorough appellate brief; and
- Devise a comprehensive strategy focused on getting you the best outcome in the appeal.