A trial court’s initial ruling is not the final word when it comes to your divorce, paternity or modification judgment. If you believe that the court made errors in dividing marital property, awarding maintenance, setting child support or in deciding child custody, there is a remedy–bring the case to appeal in a higher court.
If the court of appeals agrees that the trial judge erred, the appellate court has the option of fixing certain errors itself or sending the case back to the trial court with instructions on how to fix its mistake or for new proceedings. Strict deadlines apply to these types of appeals, so it is always advised that you speak with proven legal counsel as soon as you can.
Contact Coulter Lambson today for legal support with your appeal!
You should begin by obtaining objective, independent advice from an experienced appellate attorney. Few lawyers handle appellate cases and even fewer handle family law appeals. The rules which apply to preparing and filing appellate briefs and arguing before the court of appeals or Missouri Supreme Court are highly specific and differ significantly from how your case was handled at the trial court level. Consequently, an experienced appellate attorney will be able to objectively help you weigh the odds of winning your case on appeal.
Secondly, you should weigh the interests involved in your underlying appeal. Family law cases often involve issues most important to people: their children, retirement, savings, the marital home, whether they can relocate, and their ability to support themselves after any applicable maintenance or child support payments. Weighing the court’s decision with respect to these issues against the additional cost and time of an appeal is a highly personal choice that should be made after consulting with an experienced appellate practitioner.
Timing is critical to pursuing an appeal. You are limited in how long you have to file an appeal after the trial court renders its decision, so it’s important to investigate your options immediately after receiving your judgment and not to delay. There are certain circumstances where an appeal may be filed after the statutory deadlines have expired for filing an appeal. However, the best practice is not to delay filing a timely notice of appeal. As always, you can turn to our St. Louis County family law attorneys for additional guidance on the next steps.
Litigants who wish to appeal (or who are defending against an appeal) face strict timelines which affect their rights during the appellate process. Delaying the choice to contact a lawyer may be detrimental to your case. The attorneys at Coulter Lambson have experience in litigating appeals in both the Eastern and Western District of Missouri and are ready to discuss your options during the appellate process.
Contact Coulter Lambson by phone at (314) 309-2377 or online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.