When you have a hearing that does not go how you had hoped, you need to know your options. Do you qualify for a rehearing or a reconsideration of the case? Are you going to appeal the matter to the District Court of Appeals? Can you appeal because you do not agree with the Judge?
The judge does not always make a ruling that you like, but the trial court has discretion, in most cases, to make a “reasonable” ruling based on the evidence, and what they believe to be the weight of each piece of evidence. You may weigh the evidence differently; however, that does not mean the Judge made the “wrong ruling.” The test is, was there an abuse of discretion in the ruling?
When dealing with family law cases (divorce, dissolution, paternity) not all issues are modifiable, but some are; therefore, this issue that you may not like may be better served with a Modification. If you want to appeal a ruling, there are very specific guidelines. These vary, depending upon if it is a final order, an order on temporary issues, if the court will or will not “stay” the time from tolling for the thirty (30) day deadline for appeals, etc.
Time is of the essence if you want to have a rehearing, reconsideration or an appeal. The more time you give your attorney, the more time they will have to work on the necessary pleadings/briefs that are required. It is extremely important to have a court reporter for the appeal, and almost impossible (in my opinion) to be successful with an appeal if you do not have the record preserved. The District Court will not have had the opportunity to hear your case at the trial level, so without a transcript they are really in the dark and usually relay on the trial court to have ruled correctly. For a reconsideration or a rehearing, the transcript is extremely important; however, because it is heard by the same trial Judge, they may have some recollection of the case. The judges have hundreds of cases and they cannot remember everything about every case, so the first step in ensuring that you would have the best opportunity to be successful if an appeal is necessary is to have the court reporter.
Here at Schwam-Wilcox & Associates we do our best to avoid the need for any reconsideration, rehearing or appeal, but it does happen. We are not appellate attorneys, but if your case does warrant an appeal we can get you to the right place. We will be able to tell you the deadlines to be sure you do not lose your appellate opportunity, and we can help you to determine if there is any merit to your requested appeal. Contact our office today to assist you in evaluating your case.