Birmingham Appeals Lawyer
Divorce decrees are final and legally binding. However, there are times when a ruling by a judge is unfair, or a mistake in the law was made. In these instances, people can appeal their divorce decree, but it is important to take action quickly. In Alabama, you have only 42 days to appeal a divorce ruling. If you do not appeal within that time, you lose your right to do so. Below, our Birmingham appeals lawyer explains more about the process.
When Can You Appeal a Divorce Ruling?
It is not always possible to appeal a divorce ruling. Even if you believe your decree is unfair or you are unhappy with certain terms, this may not be enough to appeal a divorce ruling. To successfully appeal a divorce ruling, you must show that the court did not apply the law correctly to the facts of your case, or that a judge abused their discretion when making decisions. To show there was an abuse of discretion, you must prove the court’s decision was wholly unsupported by evidence.
The Divorce Appeals Process
Appealing a divorce decree is not easy. Only five percent of divorce judgments are overturned during the appeals process. The majority are classified as “Affirmed no Opinion,” which means an appeal was unsuccessful.
The appeals process starts with the judge who initially oversaw the case. Your Birmingham appeals lawyer can file a motion asking the judge to change their decision based on a mistake that was made. Unsurprisingly, many appeals fail at this stage.
If the judge does not agree to change or vacate their original decision, you can then appeal to the higher court, which is the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. Five judges sit on the appeals panel, and you must petition this court within 42 days after the divorce decree was issued. Appeals at this level are known as “paper reviews” because the judges will look at the documents and evidence presented during trial. A new trial does not take place, and no new evidence can be submitted.
The appeals court can then reach one of three conclusions. These are as follows:
- Uphold the original divorce settlement if there is no error that can be reversed,
- Overturn the decree and remand the divorce case, which involves asking the original court to review the issue and consider the instructions of the higher court, or
- Reverse one order when there is a mistake in the law.
If the appeals court does not decide in your favor, you can take the case to the Alabama Supreme Court. However, the highest court rarely takes divorce cases, as they decide on matters involving serious issues relating to state or constitutional law.
Call Our Appeals Lawyer in Birmingham Now
If you need to appeal any issue in your divorce decree, it is important to take swift action. At Peeples Law, our Birmingham appeals lawyer will make sure your case is filed on time and will give you the best chance with your case. Call us now at 205-403-5577 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.