Get Justice: Appeal the Divorce Settlement
How Does the Appeal System Work?
If you are unsatisfied with your final divorce decree, you can appeal the final decision of a Wisconsin divorce through the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals is the next court level that reviews the trial court’s decision for errors that need to be righted.
You may immediately want to appeal the final decision, but it is not as easy as one would think. An appeal can be a costly experience. The process is an uphill battle from the very beginning. In order to prevail in an appeal, the appellate court must find the trial findings to be clearly erroneous. A trial court has the ability to use discretion in family law cases and their discretionary decisions will be upheld if the court applied the proper standard of law and came to a reasonable conclusion.
If the Court of Appeals does find there was an error in the trial court's decision, it will most commonly send the case back down to the trial court to allow the court to correct its error. In certain circumstances, a party may request a substitution of the judge when the case returns to the trial court level.
The challenges that come with an appeal should not dissuade you, but they should prepare you for the task ahead. Many cases have been successfully appealed for issues relating to divorce, child placement, child support, and other areas of family law. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys to discuss your appellate options.
Hearing De Novo
A hearing in the trial court that mimics an appeal in family law is a hearing de novo. Many hearings in family law are conducted by family court commissioners, not by the judge assigned to the case. If you are not satisfied with a commissioner’s ruling, you have the right to request a new hearing before the circuit court judge. There are specific time restraints on this request that vary by each county. Unlike an appeal where the court is limited to reviewing errors in law, a hearing de novo means the trial is starting from scratch. It is a second shot at your arguments.