There’s an old adage that says, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” The same is true about hiring a good attorney. The best time to hire one was in the beginning. The second best time is now. This is especially true if your case already went to trial and you received a ruling with case altering inaccuracies, factual errors, or improperly applied legal standards
If you have received a ruling or order after your final trial, that was just flat out wrong, we can help you determine if you have any remedies. Appealing for a decision to be overturned or reconsidered is an uphill battle. They are often complicated and fact intensive. The good news is, with the right strategy, there is a chance that it can be fixed.
You may be desperate to file something, anything, to fix the current orders. But you need to be careful that you do not make the situation worse. If you file something that is procedurally incorrect, it can end any chance you have of changing the ruling. This area of law has strict deadlines and lengthy legal procedures, and it can be difficult to navigate without experience. We will review the facts with you, explain your options, and be open about your chance of success. We promise that whether good or bad, we will give you our honest assessment.
Anyone who receives a disappointing ruling wants to appeal it, but there’s a difference between wanting to appeal the ruling and having legal grounds to appeal it. The standards for an appeal are difficult because you are essentially putting the judge in your case on trial, and it is your burden to show the judge made a mistake.
Typically, that is not something a non-attorney can accurately assess on their own, and, honestly, it isn’t easy for an attorney either. Any good appellate attorney will need to dive into the facts of your case before they can say whether you have grounds. But before you spend considerable time, money, and energy on an appeal, you should know what your chances are going to be. That is going to require an open and honest consultation with an attorney.
Questions to Ask before Considering an Appeal
You must file three documents to get the appeal process started:
The Appellate Briefs must be filed next. These can be lengthy documents (up to 14,000 words for the Opening and Answering Briefs, and up to 7,000 words for the Reply Brief). On an appeal, you are not holding a second trial; rather, through the Briefs, you are trying to convince the Court of Appeals that the judge made a mistake that requires the ruling to be set aside. The Opening Brief is the crucial document in the appeal. This is where you will make all your arguments as to why the trial court (the judge who made the ruling in the Superior Court) erred in making its ruling.
In the Answering Brief, your opponent will then have their chance to respond and explain why the trial court got it right. The person appealing will then have a chance to file a Reply Brief. The Reply Brief is limited to responding to those arguments raised in the Answering Brief.
An oral argument is an optional last step (unless the Court of Appeals choose to set one), but either party can request an oral argument. During an oral argument, each side has 20 minutes to present their arguments to the three-judge panel on the Court of Appeals. The judges can (and do) interrupt to ask questions.
After the matter has been briefed and the oral argument is held, then the matter is ready for the Court of Appeals to rule. Waiting for this ruling can take up to six months.
After the appeal is decided, a party may ask the Arizona Supreme Court to review the appellate ruling by filing a Petition for Review. The other party will have a chance to respond. The Supreme Court will then decide whether to hear the case—but they are not required to hear it.
Once the matter is finished in the appellate courts, the Court of Appeals will issue a mandate to the trial court, returning jurisdiction to that Court. If the Court of Appeals has overturned the trial court’s ruling, it may provide the trial court with instructions on what to do next.
You can motion the court to alter or amend its ruling, clarify its ruling, and reconsider its ruling. You can also appeal the decision. But, the clock is ticking on those options. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to learn about your options and to determine the likelihood of success.
No. An appeal is not your only option. And most likely, it is not even your best option. Typically, you should attempt to remedy the situation by filing a post-trial motion before pursuing an appeal.
Finding the right attorney will give you the best chance to win your family appeal. You need an attorney who has appellate experience. Appeals are one of the most complex procedures of the court system, and it is imperative to have an experienced attorney to help you with your appeal.
You have 30 days from when the ruling becomes final. A ruling becomes final when no more issues are pending before the Court. But, some rulings may become appealable (regardless of whether other issues are pending) if the Court certifies its ruling under Rule 78(b). Certain post-trial motions, such as a Motion to Alter or Amend, can extend the deadline.
You file a Notice of Appeal in your existing case in the Superior Court. The Superior Court will then notify the Court of Appeals. You will also be responsible for getting a transcript of the trial (and any other hearings you want the Court to consider) transcribed and filed with the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals will notify when your Case Management Statement and Opening Brief are due.
Typically, an appeal takes anywhere from nine to fifteen months to receive a decision.
Yes. Child support and spousal maintenance do not get suspended because of an appeal. You have an ongoing obligation to pay those amounts. If the appeal changes the order, you will receive a credit for any amount you overpaid.
One of the biggest financial risks people take during a marriage is done unwittingly—and sometimes even unknowingly—financing the marital home…
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Any issue or question I have has always been answered. I am super grateful to Jillian because I feel like I have someone by my side 100% of the time.
Throughout this entire process, everyone at the firm treated me with the courtesy and respect that you would extend a lifelong friend, and for that humble gesture I shall remain forever grateful . . .
The best at what they do! Im so impressed by the knowledge Stephen has off the top of his head. The whole crew is amazing . Would highly recommend them.
I've never met such a passionate, organized, and responsive group of attorneys. Family law matters can be emotionally and legally challenging but this group stands out as the place to go to get great help
The team that works here is professional, timely, and has your best interests at the root of every decision. They work tirelessly and have an amazing array of experience to act on your behalf...needless to say, they’d always be my choice!
Highly recommend this firm for family law disputes. The efforts that they put forth to a case are some of the best that you can get, but they also know how to really work with a client and make it feel like a team atmosphere
I know some of the lead attorneys at State 48 Law Firm, and have complete faith and trust in their knowledge and professionalism. I would trust them implicitly, with my own legal needs.
Excellent team of attorneys. Everyone has a wealth of experience and a great depth of legal knowledge. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone.
I can't recommend State 48 Law Firm enough. They have a great team of experienced attorneys, although I highly recommend Bryce Johnson! He has a wealth of family law knowledge and will fight for you.
I've known and worked with State 48 attorney Bryce Johnson for several years and know him to be a considerate and tactful attorney who fights tooth and nail for his clients. I would recommend State 48 for your family law needs!
Everyone at State 48 Law Firm is great! Jillian Hansen will take the time to educate you about the process while showing empathy for the situation.
State 48 Law includes a very experienced team of lawyers who will work tirelessly for you. I would recommend their team, and specifically Bryce Johnson, to anyone.
During one of the most difficult periods in your life, it is imperative to find a lawyer and a law firm, who can look after your interests.
I’ve worked with this Team before & can’t say enough about their professionalism & constant communication. Highly recommend State48 for anything family law.
Ankita takes her time, is very responsive, and shows that she does care. You don’t usually find that compassion in a lawyer. I can’t thank her enough for helping us through our case and I highly recommended her!
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