Can You Appeal a Decision Made in Family Court?

The field of family law in Arizona covers many of the issues that are most important to people’s lives, such as who has custody of children, when a child can be adopted, and how assets should be divided in a divorce.  All of these questions, and many more, can be decided in an Arizona family court. 

If you have a legal issue and your case goes to family court, it is very important for you to be represented by an experienced Scottsdale family law attorney. You need a lawyer because you will want to make the most compelling arguments possible so you can try to convince the judge to make the decision you want.  Singer Pistiner P.C. can provide you with representation and can help you to prepare your case, present your case, and make the strongest arguments possible to try to get the family court judge to rule for you.

Unfortunately, some people whose cases end up in family court are dissatisfied with the results of their case.  When this happens to you, you may wish to explore the possibility of appealing a decision made in family court.

When Can You Appeal Under Arizona Family Law?

When you divorce, enter into adoption proceedings, become involved in a custody dispute or otherwise have a family law issue, a family court judge will preside over your case.  The judge will make a legally binding decision, which you and the other party must abide by.

You do not, however, necessarily have to accept the judge’s word as the final word on the matter. You have the option to appeal. Appealing means asking a higher court- the appeals court- to take a look at the decision which was made.

The Supreme Court of the State of Arizona has published a guide to appeals, which provides some basic details on the appeals process. One of the most important things you need to be aware of is that there are strict deadlines for filing an appeal.  You have 30 days from the day the court entered its final judgment to take action and file appropriate paperwork indicating you are appealing the decision.  In general, you may only appeal a final decision which resolves your family law case- however, there may be some limited exceptions and special circumstances.

When you file an appeal, the higher court will review what has already occurred on your case. The court is not going to be looking at whether it agrees with the way the lower court interpreted subjective facts and evidence. Instead, the purpose of the appeal is to determine if any procedural or substantive errors were made in the lower court.

It is not the job of the appeals court to substitute its judgment for the lower court; but rather the appeals court instead will take action when there was a problem with the way the law was applied or when there were other issues which prevent the lower court decision from being considered a legally valid one.

When you appeal a decision made by a family court judge under Arizona’s family law code, you will need to provide comprehensive legal grounds for the appeal and will need to be ready to make solid arguments. An appeal is different because you don’t present witnesses or the same types of evidence as you do in your initial case. Instead, the focus is on making strong legal arguments.

If you can convince the appeals court something went wrong, the initial decision may be overturned and/or the case may be sent back to the lower court. If you don’t convince the appeals court of a problem, the judgment of the lower court will be upheld.

How Can a Scottsdale Family Law Attorney Help with an Appeal?

Appealing a case can be much more complicated than the initial legal proceedings where you made arguments on your behalf.  An appeal may be your last chance to change an unfavorable decision and to get a ruling which provides the outcome you believe is right for you, your children, and your family members. You should not try to handle your appeal on your own when the process is so complex and when the stakes are so high.

At Singer Pistiner, P.C., our Scottsdale family law attorneys have decades of collective experience and we have helped many clients to successfully have unfavorable decisions overturned on appeal. Every case is different, but having a good lawyer who can help you to make strong arguments is going to be invaluable as you fight for your family.

Give us a call as soon as possible at (480) 418-7011 or contact us online if you wish to appeal your family law case, as you have only a very limited period of time to act before your opportunity to appeal is lost forever.


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