If you were unsatisfied with the ruling in your divorce case, you may be wondering if you can appeal the judge’s decision. Ultimately, the straightforward answer to that question is that it will take more than you being unhappy with the outcome of your divorce in order to successfully appeal what was decided.
When you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement on all of the issues to your divorce, you essentially turn the decision-making power over to the family court judge. There is no guarantee that you will agree with whatever the judge decides.
However, you may be able to file an appeal if an error was committed or the decision was otherwise unjust. Judges are only human, which means that they do make mistakes from time to time. Here are a few examples of situations that could lead to rulings being altered, amended or vacated:
- The judge did not properly apply or interpret the law.
- A ruling was made contrary to evidence presented at trial.
- One party lied about his or her income or assets.
- New facts were discovered that should change the outcome.
In some cases, minor errors and unjust decisions can be fixed with post-trial motions at the trial court level. In other cases involving larger grievances, it may be possible to file an appeal with the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. In very rare cases, a divorce case could even reach the Alabama Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court, if permission is granted.
Before you get ahead of yourself, it’s important to keep in mind that only 5 percent of divorce rulings end up being overturned on appeal.
If you believe that your case should be revisited, you should speak with the family law attorney who tried the case on your behalf. It’s important to speak with your lawyer — even if you don’t want him or her representing you anymore — because there are strict deadlines in place that must be followed.
If you’d like, you will then have an opportunity to discharge your former attorney and find a new one with experience handling appellate cases. Keep reading for more information on appealing a divorce.