Some decisions you might have questions about could be:
- Should you really pay alimony to your lazy spouse?
- Why didn’t you get the marital home if you got custody of the kids?
While nobody is ever really a winner in a divorce, you probably expect to have some things go your way. If you think the judge made an error in law or procedure, then you may be able to file an appeal. So just when you think the divorce has been finalized, it just might not be over yet.
Either party can file an appeal if they believe the court made a decision in error.
There are some limits to an appeal, though. You can’t appeal simply because you aren’t happy with the outcome. There must be some error in how the law was applied. This is something that the average person would not be able to handle, but a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in the area of family law would be able to assess your case and help look for any issues.
Think you have a good chance of winning an appeal? Let the Wauwatosa appealsattorneys at Karp & Iancu, S.C. assess your divorce case and help you get a favorable outcome.
What You Need to Know
It’s true — you can appeal your divorce. There are likely multiple options that can help you get the outcome you desire. You can appeal elements such as:
- Child custody
- Property division
However, time is of the essence in divorce appeal cases. If you’re not happy with the outcome of your divorce, you need to make the decision to appeal typically within 90 days, under Wisconsin law (it may be just 45 days in some cases). Therefore, you should contact your lawyer as soon as possible.
There are guidelines on when you can appeal. If your divorce was issued as a final order, you can generally appeal the outcome if you are unhappy with it. In other cases, though, you may need permission to appeal. For example, a non-final order can be appealed with permission. Some types of orders cannot be appealed at all. If you entered into an agreement and that agreement was incorporated into the final divorce order, then the terms of the agreement usually cannot usually be appealed.
All appeals in the state are heard by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. This court consists of a panel of three judges who will hear the case and determine whether or not the divorce court (also known as the trial court) made an error. If the Court of Appeals finds that an error did occur, it can either correct the mistake or send your case back to the lower court with instructions on correcting the error.
Keep in mind that the Court of Appeals won’t hear your divorce case again. Instead, it will look at the case that you already went through in order to determine if there were any errors. So you will submit a brief and only go to court if the Court of Appeals has questions. The court will then issue a decision within several months.
Appeals do not happen quickly. The average timeline for the entire process is around 10 months. However, your lawyer can evaluate your case to provide you with more detailed information about what you can expect.
What Are the Steps Involved?
In the 10-month period, there’s a lot going on. The appeals process typically involves five steps:
- File a notice of appeal. You typically have 90 days to initiate an appeal. However, you have just 45 days if you have been given a special “Notice of Entry of Judgment.”
- Notify the trial court. You must notify both the opposing party and the judge that you are appealing the order. The judge’s clerk will compile the court record, which consists of all the documents presented at the trial as well as any hearing transcripts.
- Submit all filings and briefs. Your attorney will prepare a written brief that shows the possible errors and explains why the decision was made in error. After you submit your brief, the other party will have an opportunity to respond. They will need to explain why the trial court’s decision was correct. You can then reply by presenting your position one last time.
- Attend the oral argument. The court will assess the case after receiving all required information, including the court record and all briefs. If there are unanswered questions, the Court of Appeals can schedule an oral argument and ask questions of both sides’ attorneys. This is called an oral argument.
- The court will issue a written decision. After the Court of Appeals has received all the information it needs and has had time to review all the aspects of the case, it could take up to six months to arrive at a decision. If it has been determined that errors were made in the process, it will reverse the trial court’s decision. If the lower court did not make any errors, then the original decision will stand. In some cases, the court may “remand” the case, which means it will allow the trial court a chance to correct any errors. The Court of Appeals will typically advise on how to make those corrections.