Austin Family Law Appeal Lawyers
Have you received an unfavorable judgment in a family law case? If so, you could still have options for obtaining a favorable outcome. After the court issues its decision on a civil case, either party can file an appeal to overturn the judgment. However, appeals are subject to strict deadlines, and failure to file in a timely manner can cause you to lose your right to do so permanently.
Civil cases involving family can be particularly sensitive, stressful, and legally complicated. You shouldn’t navigate the appeals process alone. You’ll need a dedicated and compassionate attorney to fight for your best interests. And because your case may involve strict laws and deadlines, you may need to hire an experienced attorney immediately.
Contact Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., today for an initial consultation with an Austin family law appeal lawyer. We are ready to review your case and consider your grounds for an appeal.
What Is an Appeal in a Family Law Matter?
An appeal is the legal process of requesting a higher court to review a lower court’s ruling on a given case. In order for your appeal to be successful, you will need to prove that errors in the interpretation or application of the law caused the original judgment to be made incorrectly.
You can file an appeal for a child support order, property division arrangement, or other judgment rendered during divorce proceedings. However, the appeals process can be particularly complex, and any mistake you make could lead to a rejected appeal request.
Once you appeal, your request will go to a panel of judges for review. They will determine whether your request has legal grounds. It’s crucial to understand, though, that the decision to proceed with a filed appeal does not mean you automatically receive a new trial. It means the higher court will decide whether to reverse, remand, or affirm the court’s initial decision. If the judges agree with your petition, they could grant a new trial or hearing on the family law matter.
How Our Family Law Appeal Attorneys Can Help
Filing an appeal isn’t something you should attempt alone. Often, a simple mistake in the appeals process results in an unsuccessful appeal, which can permanently close the door to additional action. When it comes to family matters, it’s imperative to be prepared and prudent.
At Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., we understand how overwhelming it can feel to have a court rule against you. We can complete all the necessary paperwork and represent you during every stage of the appeals process — from drafting and filing the initial appeals paperwork to pursuing additional legal action if the court rules against you.
Our family law attorneys have a proven track record of success We hold an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating an attorney can receive in their field. We also have recognition from The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. Our dedicated and experienced legal team will fight for the best possible outcome when you hire us.
Common Family Law Issues Warranting an Appeal
The judge does not base their decision regarding an appeal on new evidence or testimony. Instead, they will review everything submitted during the original trial to decide if the decision was properly rendered or if an error warrants a new trial.
The most common reasons to file a family law appeal include:
- Divorce Appeals – You can challenge any part of your divorce decree after a judge files the order or judgment.
- Custody Appeals – If you believe an error contributed to the judge’s decision regarding custody or visitation, an appeal might be necessary to reverse the decision.
- Child Support Appeals – Child support determinations are based on state guidelines. However, the court’s improper application of the law might warrant an appeal.
- Alimony Appeals – Spousal maintenance could require an appeal if the judge didn’t award a fair amount based on the prevailing legal standards.
- Division of Assets or Debt – Community property laws require the courts to divide property based on what it deems just. Proceeding with an appeals request depends on whether an abuse of discretion rendered the original decision arbitrary, erroneous, or simply unreasonable.
- Valuation and Characterization of Property – Characterizing and valuing each spouse’s assets is vital in determining how they should be split. Discovering errors that led to the court’s ruling could justify an appeal.
- Enforceability of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements – Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements must meet specific standards to be valid and legally enforceable. You could pursue an appeal for evidence of fraud, involuntary execution, or unconscionability.
The Appeals Process in Austin Family Law Cases
Remember, it’s not enough that you simply disagree with the judge’s decision. You must have a valid reason to file your appeal for a reversal of the original decision or to request a new trial.
You must follow multiple steps to pursue an appeal in Texas:
- Grounds – First, you must establish that you have a legal basis on which to file an appeal. That means the original case involved an error, abuse of discretion, or another problem on the part of the court.
- Notice of Appeal – If you want to pursue an appeal of the final judgment or order, you must file a notice of appeal informing the court of your plans within 30 days of the initial ruling.
- Record of Appeal – Next, you must create and file a record of the appeal. This record includes information regarding the legal reasoning and argument for the appeal. It also involves the trial transcript and evidence or supporting documents for the court to review.
- Motions and Oral Arguments – Your attorney can file various motions with the court depending on the facts of the case. For example, they might file a motion for a new trial if there’s evidence of jury misconduct in the original trial. They can also request oral arguments when filing the appeal, which involves verbally pointing out issues in the original case and persuading the court of the errors that justify considering a new trial.
Appeal Deadlines in Texas Family Cases
If you wish to appeal a family law case, state law requires that you file a notice of appeal within 30 days from the date the judge enters their final judgment. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to request a 15-day extension to this deadline. Furthermore, you might be able to extend the time frame to 90 days if you file a motion for a new trial.
You could file a restricted appeal if the court entered a default judgment because you did not participate in the hearing that resulted in that judgment. You must file your appeal within six months of the signed and filed judgment or order. You must also prove these elements:
- You filed a notice of a restricted appeal within the required time frame.
- You were a party to the original lawsuit.
- You didn’t participate in the hearing.
- There is an apparent error in the case record.
You might also be able to file a writ of mandamus (a formal, legal document that demands a lower court or a government official do something) if the lower court’s error was so egregious that you will suffer serious harm if it goes into effect. You will only be granted a writ of mandamus in limited circumstances, such as for:
- Temporary child support orders that are issued in violation of state law
- An order refusing to transfer or transferring a lawsuit that affects the parent-child relationship
- Serious errors in the discovery process
- Reviewing major rulings in exceptional cases
- Ordering the trial court to comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
This emergency type of appeal may be required if an immediate decision by the court is necessary.
Can You Appeal a Family Court Decision in Texas?
Yes. You have a right to appeal a family court decision if you meet the requirements. Whether you’re seeking a reversal of a decision regarding property division, child support, or child custody, you must prove the higher court should overturn the case because of an error made by the lower court. Remember, the burden of proof is always on the person filing the appeal.
How Long Does the Appeal Process Take in Austin, Texas?
Appeals typically take anywhere from seven to 14 months to complete. However, depending on the factors involved, the process could take less or more time. For example, receiving a quick response from the court might be possible if you file an emergency appeal.
Contact Our Family Law Appeals Attorneys to Learn More Today
Seeking additional legal action to correct a mistake can be frustrating. However, you don’t have to do this on your own. Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., has been representing clients in family law cases since 1963, and in those six decades of service, we’ve earned a reputation for fighting hard to protect our clients’ rights and interests. Contact us today to speak with an experienced family law appeals attorney.