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Appeals

Grand Rapids Family Lawyers for Divorce and Family Law Appeals

Family Law Appeals: Can I Have a Divorce Do Over?

The question of whether or not to seek an appeal in a divorce or other family law matter is never an easy one. Not only can the appellate process be expensive — sometimes just the cost of transcripts can take a big bite out of your wallet — but understanding what type of order can be appealed and what the timetables are for different types of appeals can be confusing.

While an experienced Grand Rapids family law appeals attorney will be able to guide you through the divorce appellate process, the following provides an overview of how Michigan divorce appeals work.   

What Types of Family Law Matters Can Be Appealed?

As long as you meet the legal criteria — both substantive and procedural, including filing within the time limits required — you can appeal most family law matters. But meeting those criteria can be a tall order. This is where experience really comes into play. Not all divorce attorneys also have appellate law experience.

With decades of experience, Kraayeveld divorce and custody attorneys regularly handle appeals in family law-related matters. Our lawyers represent both existing clients in appellate matters and individuals who had different trial counsel and who now need help seeking a just result on appeal. Some examples of matters we regularly handle on appeal are:

It is important to understand that not every ruling is subject to appeal. While you have an automatic right to appeal some judgments, others can only be appealed if the appeals court allows it. An experienced Grand Rapids divorce appellate attorney can explain whether an appeal is possible in your particular circumstances, but the following provides an overview of what can be appealed automatically and what requires court permission.

Your Right to Appeal Divorce Judgments and Final Custody Orders 

In Michigan, final orders in divorce and child custody matters are appealable by right. This means that divorce judgments and final custody orders are always eligible for appeal as long as you successfully jump the first hurdle, and that means convincing the Court of Appeals judges that you can back up your legal argument that an error was made.

If you are successful with this first step, then you are allowed to file the actual appeal. This extra requirement creates an extra expense, which you should consider when deciding whether you want to appeal a decision.

Family Law Appeals That Can Only Be Filed With Court Approval

Some appeals can only be filed with permission from the higher courts. These are called “appeals by leave of the court.” For instance, orders after a judgment can only be appealed by leave of the court. These include orders granting or denying modification of parenting time, child support or spousal support, or other orders that occur after a judgment was entered.

When Do Michigan Family Law Appeals Have to Be Filed?

When it comes to family law appeals, timing is everything. In most cases you have 21 days to initiate an appeal after receiving an unfavorable ruling. That is, in the legal world, a very short time span, which is why it is critical that you contact a Grand Rapids family law appellate attorney as soon as possible after receiving a ruling you want to appeal in order to preserve your legal rights.

FAQs: Family Law Appeals in Michigan

Q: Is it more cost-effective to use my trial attorney for my appeal?

Not necessarily. While your trial attorney will be up to speed on your case (therefore reducing the time necessary to gather the information needed for your appeal), there are several potential countervailing factors. For one, it could be that your trial attorney is the reason you need to file an appeal. If your need to base your appeal on errors made at the trial level, you will need different appellate counsel.  A second, independent, opinion will always be beneficial considering the cost of an appeal.

Additionally, not all attorneys handle appellate matters on a regular basis. At Kraayeveld Law, we maintain an active appellate practice, and we have the background knowledge necessary to efficiently handle our clients’ appeals.

Q: What if it has been more than 21 days since my hearing?

In most circumstances, you have the right to file a leave to appeal which is basically a request to the Court of Appeals to file an appeal.  You may file such a request up to one year after the court order. This is a costly extra step in the proceedings, and it may decrease your chances of success, but if an error was made at the trial level, you may want to consider this option.

Q: If the trial judge ruled against me, what are my chances of success on appeal?

It depends. There are numerous factors that can affect your likelihood of success on appeal, and the issues addressed in appellate court are very different from those addressed at the trial level. We can give you an idea of your chances of success once we know more about your case.

Schedule an Initial Consultation with a Grand Rapids Family Lawyer to Discuss Your Options for an Appeal

There are a lot of factors that can affect your likelihood of success on appeal, and the issues addressed in appellate court are very different from those addressed at the trial level. Our experienced Grand Rapids legal team can give you an idea of the strength of your case once we know more about your situation.

Please connect with us or call us at 616-285-0808 to schedule a confidential initial consultation.