Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What If I Don't Like a Ruling on My Case?

In most cases, neither side in a family law matter gets exactly and entirely what they want from a judge pursuant to a contested hearing or trial. Although all-out victories occur, there is a certain risk in going to court that a judge will not give either side what they want. But if you lose on an issue very important to you, what can you do?

First, evaluate whether or not the judge really ruled wrongly. If the judge did nothing wrong and just believed the other side's case had more merit, there may not be any recourse. Child custody decisions are often made this way because the cases often boil down to "He said, she said," situations. The judge has to make a decision and does, even though one (or both) sides may not like it. However, if you believe the judge abused his discretion, made a mistake in interpreting the law or some other error, you may be able to do something to change the outcome.

Second, be cognizant that there are various deadlines involved in trying to change/correct a judge's ruling. The deadlines vary depending on the type of corrective action one contemplates. Appeals, for example, require that a Notice of Appeal be filed within thirty (30) days of the final order from which an appeal is sought.

Third, evaluate the different legal routes available. For example, there are special action appeals, regular appeals, motions for reconsideration, motions for new trial, motions for relief from judgment and motions to set aside. Perhaps in another post, I will deal with each of these in more detail but for now, parties should be aware that there are alternative methods of trying to undo a court's ruling, different methods work best for certain situations and stages of the proceedings, and there are always various timeframes/deadlines to consider. If you are going to take action, consult an attorney immediately to make sure you act in time!

Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C.
Trent Wilcox
For the Firm

Phoenix office:
3030 N. Central Ave., Ste. 705
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Ph: 602-631-9555
Fx: 602-631-4004

Goodyear office:
1616 N. Litchfield Rd., Ste. 240
Goodyear, Arizona 85338
Ph: 623-344-7880
Fx: 602-631-4004

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Disclaimer: Providing the above information does not establish an
attorney-client relationship. To create such a relationship, both the
attorney and potential client must sign a written fee agreement. The
information contained herein is meant only as general information and is not meant to be relied upon for the purpose of taking legal action. You should contact an attorney in person for further and specific information. Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. attorneys are licensed in Arizona only except for personal injury attorney Robert N. Edwards, who is licensed in Arizona and Minnesota.

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