Attorney Leigh Daniel has handled divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, military divorce, and other family law cases at trial and on appeal in Alabama. She maintains an active family law practice both at the trial and appellate level, with an emphasis on high-conflict cases, addressing issues of dividing marital assets fairly and equitably, child custody decrees and modifications, child support awards, and modifications, terminating parental rights, post-minority support awards, military retirement awards and complications, alimony and support, and other issues that arise in family court cases.
Leigh Daniel accepts divorce and custody appeals from every county in Alabama and will be happy to discuss your case via telephone if you are not in the Huntsville/Madison County region.
What Is a Divorce Appeal?
A divorce appeal is an application to a higher court to review and reverse a lower court’s decree. The Appellant, the person who files the appeal, is requesting a higher court to review the trial court’s order as to the trial court judge’s award of custody, child support, alimony, division of assets, etc. The appeal can be of one issue or several issues. The Appellant has a very limited amount of days in which to file a divorce appeal, so time is of the essence after you receive a final order to speak to an Appellate Attorney about the case.
An appellant can begin the process by filing what’s called a “post-judgment motion” which asks the trial judge to reconsider his or her ruling. Post-judgment motions must be timely filed: within 14 days for CS and JU, and 30 days for DR. That motion must be ruled on within 14 days for CS and JU cases, or 90 days for DR cases. If the motion is not ruled on within the specified period of time, it is denied by operation of law. The Appellant then must file an appeal to the Court of Civil Appeals. Again, there are time constraints on this as well.
The Appellant can forgo filing a post-judgment motion and file the appeal directly. You have 42 days from the date of the final decree or the date of the disposition of the post-judgment motion to file an appeal in a DR case. That time period is 14 days for JU and CS cases.
Appealing a Divorce Settlement in Alabama
Once the divorce appeal is filed, a transcript is ordered, and the record on appeal has been filed with the Court of Civil Appeals, the Appellate Attorney must submit a brief to the Court. A brief is a written summary of facts and legal points that you wish the Court of Civil Appeals to consider. The Appellee, the opposing side, then submits a brief. The Appellant can file a reply brief to the Appellee’s brief.
This can be a very lengthy process. The Court of Civil Appeals may take several weeks to months to issue an opinion on the case. All divorce appeals from every county in Alabama in JU, CS, and DR cases go to the Court of Civil Appeals in Montgomery. This is not a new trial, but simply a review of the trial court’s order. The Appellate courts will presume that the trial court judge’s findings of fact were correct unless the Appellant can show that the findings rose to the level of an abuse of discretion, which you’ll often see termed “plainly and palpably wrong”. However, in determining questions of law, the Appellate Courts do not give that level of deference to the trial court, rather it will overrule and reverse an incorrect trial court ruling under de novo review. In some circumstances, your case could be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Alabama.
Get Help Appealing Your Divorce With a Divorce Lawyer
Contact us online or by phone to get help with your divorce appeal. Our Huntsville divorce lawyers can get started on your case today with a consultation in person or by phone. Call now for a consultation at (256) 551-0500!