The Fight for Your Rights May Not be Over

The Fight for Your Rights May Not be Over

Did you end up with an unfavorable or erroneous judgment? Has the other side challenged the order? Our dedicated appellate & appeals lawyers at Toombs Imel & Associates will provide you with options for challenging or enforcing the court order to ensure that you and your family’s rights are not ignored.

TIME IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE. Generally, once a court signs a final decree of divorce or other family law judgment, parties have 30 days in which to file a Notice of Appeals or a post-judgment motion, such as a Motion for New Trial, Reconsideration, or Motion to Correct, Modify, or Reform the Judgment, to extend the deadline for filing the appeal.

Given the limited window, it is vital that you contact an experienced appellate lawyer to apprise you of your options and to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines.

Appellate Lawyers

Can I set aside a default judgment?

Maybe. If the court made a decision in favor of the other side when you were not present, also called a “default judgment”, you may be able to set it aside if you can show lack of notice, accident or mistake, fraud or misrepresentation. In addition, you must show that you had a meritorious defense to the suit and that the other party would not be delayed or injured if the new trial were granted.

As with other judgments, the general deadline to file a motion to set aside or motion for new trial is within 30 days from the date of the judge signed the default judgment. There are some exceptions, such as if the notice was served via publication or you were on active military duty.

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What can I do if I missed the 30-day deadline to file an appeal or request a new trial?

If you missed the deadline to file a motion for new trial or a motion to set aside, you may still be able to overturn the judgment via a restricted appeal, which must be filed within 6 months after the judgment was signed.

Keep in mind that a restricted appeal will only be successful if the court’s error is clear from the record, and you did not actively participate in trial. Active participation includes the filing of a post-judgment motion.

Another option for challenging a default judgment is a bill of review, which must be filed within 4 years after you knew or should have known of the default judgment. “Sufficient cause” must be shown, meaning that

(1) the default judgment was obtained via official mistake, fraud, or other wrongful action;

(2) you have a meritorious defense; and

(3) the default judgment was not obtained through your negligence or due to your fault.

Can I appeals a temporary order by the trial court?

Although you cannot directly appeal a temporary order, you may want to consider filing a mandamus if you believe that the court abused its discretion. Abuse of discretion occurs when the order issued by the trial judge is so arbitrary or unreasonable that it amounts to clear error of law and a party suffered harm as a result of the same.

The mandamus process is arduous and requires the filing of specific records and documents with the appellate court. As such, these matters are best handled by skilled appellate lawyers like the attorneys at Toombs Imel & Associates.