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Appeals in Divorce Proceedings

Nashville Attorneys Helping Clients Navigate Family Law Disputes

Divorce proceedings can be complicated, both judicially and emotionally. When a party feels that a ruling has been entered unjustly, they may need to pursue further action by filing an appeal. The majority of decisions in divorce cases are not reversed on appeal, but if an issue is extremely important, such as judgments related to child custody or visitation, it may be vital to try. The Nashville divorce lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC guide clients throughout the appellate process. Timing is an important aspect of filing an appeal, and our attorneys are experienced in handling these procedures, making sure that no detail is overlooked. We offer knowledgeable and aggressive legal representation to clients across Davidson and Williamson Counties. If you have questions about challenging a final ruling in your divorce case, contact our office today to find out about your potential next legal steps.

How Appeals Work in Tennessee Divorce Proceedings

After a divorce is final, which can happen either through establishing a marital settlement agreement or through issuing a court order, either spouse can challenge the judgment, or specific stipulations in it, by making an appeal to a higher court. Once a final order is issued in the proceedings, however, a party who wants to challenge the judgment, who would be known as the appellant, must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days. This notice must be accompanied by an appellate brief, which is a document that sets out the legal argument for the appeal, as well as case law or statutes that support the appellant’s argument. In other words, the brief contains the basis for why the initial judgment was legally incorrect.

Once each side has had an opportunity to file their brief, an appellate court may decide to grant a hearing for oral arguments. During oral arguments, attorneys for each side present the grounds for why a decision was right or wrong, based on the law. No new evidence is allowed to be introduced during oral arguments if it was not presented during the initial divorce proceedings. Once the Court of Appeals has issued an opinion on a matter, the last appeal available is to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Those applications for appeal must be filed within 60 days after the intermediate appellate court’s judgment has been entered. It is important to remember that, generally, settlement agreements that were willingly entered into by both parties are not subject to appeal.

In lieu of appealing a decision to a higher court, a former spouse may petition the trial court that granted their judgment for a modification. To succeed in obtaining a modification of a final judgment, the petitioner must show that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances since the judgment was entered. Under Tennessee law, substantial and material changes can include remarrying, losing or getting a job, going into retirement, having additional children, or encountering changes in a child’s needs, such as specialized schooling. Appealing or modifying a final divorce judgment involves substantial legal knowledge, and consulting a family law attorney is important to ensuring that your interests are properly articulated.

Retain an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Nashville or Beyond

When a final judgment in a divorce is contrary to Tennessee law, an ex-spouse or parent may feel that they are without recourse. However, there are options available to appeal or modify a judgment. The family law attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC help clients pursue legal action that serves their interests during and after divorce proceedings. Our firm offers dedicated and experienced legal representation to people in Nashville, Franklin, West Meade, East Nashville, Bellevue, and Brentwood, as well as throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties. If you need legal assistance with an appeal regarding your divorce, contact our office online or at 615-800-7096 to speak with a lawyer and learn more about our services.