Dissatisfied with the Final Judgment in Your Divorce?

It happens all the time: The divorce court hands down a final judgment and one or both parties are unhappy with the outcome. If you are dissatisfied with the final judgment in your divorce case, whether it is because you wanted sole custody instead of shared parenting or because you wanted your former spouse to be responsible for all of the marriage’s debt instead of part of it, you have the option to appeal the family court’s decision. At the Clark Law Group, our Dallas divorce modification attorney specializes in post divorce modifications and can help you appeal the court’s initial judgment.

How Does an Appeal Work?

In family law, an appeal works in much the same way that an appeal would work in any other area of law - by appealing to a higher court to review the lower court’s decision. However, just as with criminal or civil cases, in order to appeal a decision, you must have reasonable grounds for doing so. For instance, you cannot appeal the court’s decision for shared custody if the only grounds for appeal that you can bring are, “I do not like my former spouse and so do not want him or her apart of my child’s life.” Without reasonable grounds for appeal, the higher courts may dismiss your case in the best case scenario; in the worst case scenario, they will reopen your case and grant more custody to your former spouse on the grounds that you are trying to interfere with the parent-child relationship.

With that in mind, you may appeal nearly every decision handed down by the family law courts, whether it involves child custody, support orders, or the distribution of your marital assets. Regardless of the issue, the way to winning an appeal is to prove that the courts abused their discretion in deciding your case, or that the case should be overturned as a matter of law. The burden of proof lies on the appellant (the party making the appeal), so again, it is imperative that you have evidence to support your claim before bringing the matter before a judge.

Laying the Foundation for an Appeal

In order to present a complaint for appellate review, you must file a motion in accordance with Rule 33.1 of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. Doing so requires your Dallas family law attorney to take the following steps on your behalf:

  • State the specific grounds for your complaint. Global objections, profuse objections, or overly general objections will not merit a review.
  • Assert the objection in a timely manner. If you object to a family court’s decision too prematurely, it may be dismissed on the grounds that you did not give the judgment a fair chance. It is never too late to submit a family law appeal though.
  • There must be a ruling to object to. You cannot appeal a family court decision if the judge never handed down a final decision. Furthermore, you must have objected to the decision at the time it was handed down, and it must have been overruled.
  • Record must be made of the objection. Additionally, in order for an appeal to be heard, it must be noted in the court clerk’s records that an objection was made at the original hearing. If an attorney fails to ensure that an objection is on the record, it is as if it never happened.

Will the Court Review Your Case Anew?

Even if you and your family lawyer do everything by the book, the appellate court may still not review your case. The reviewing court gives esteem to the lower court on issues such as witness credibility, factual determinations, weight of evidence, and other factors that played a role in its final decision. This means that if your appeal is based on such a factor, the higher courts may not review your case anew. However, if your appeal questions the law or the lower court’s interpretation of the law, the appellate court may give a whole new level of scrutiny to the issue.

Consult a Dallas Divorce Modification Attorney

The conclusion of a family law case is not always final. Whether you want to petition for a modification to the court’s final judgment or need to fight to have a judgment enforced, contact the Clark Law Group. Our divorce modification attorneys are post judgment experts in the Dallas area, and want to help your case be heard. To schedule a private consultation today, call (469) 906-2266 or go online to get started.

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