Scottsdale Family Law Appeals Services

Scottsdale Family Law Appeals Law Firm

Considering Filing an Appeal? Find Out How Our Family Law Appeals Attorneys Can Help

At Burggraff Tash Levy, we know that the trial court does not always get it right and sometimes the decision needs to be reviewed by a higher court. Under certain circumstances, you can appeal the ruling of a Superior Court Family Judge. It is possible to pursue an appeal without an attorney and Arizona has put together a packet to assist unrepresented parties. (See Pro Se Guide). But the appellate process can be overwhelming because of all of the deadlines and specific rules.

When considering appealing a family law matter, it is best to consult an attorney experienced in both family law and appeals. Please also be aware there are certain deadlines that approach quickly so it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. 

Call Burggraff Tash Levy at 480-307-6800 or use our online form to schedule your consultation.

Contact us today and schedule your, low cost, no pressure consultation with an experienced appeals attorney.

What Is an Appeal?

To answer this question, it is first important to understand the way in which our courts are set up in Arizona.  In accordance with Article 6, Section 1 of the Arizona Constitution, “[t]he judicial power shall be vested in an integrated judicial department consisting of a supreme court, such intermediate appellate courts as may be provided by law, a superior court, such courts inferior to the superior court as may be provided by law, and justice courts.”  While the above is a lot to take in, we can simplify this to say that the Arizona Constitution provides three levels or tiers of courts: the superior court, the appellate courts, and the Arizona supreme court. 

A typical family law case begins in the superior court. To initiate this process, one party files a petition requesting some specific form of relief provided under law—typically under Title 25 (Marital and Domestic Relations)—with the Superior Court located in the county in which the person filing resides. The judicial process begins after this filing.  This process is governed by the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure.  Directly pursuant to these rules, court dates are set, deadlines for certain documents are provided, and all parties must comply with the time constraints and applicable rules. After the superior court has addressed all claims that were raised in the petitions that were filed, the Court will typically issue a final Order resolving all of the claims.  But this does not necessarily mean that one’s case is over.

A party may generally appeal to the “intermediate appellate courts” noted above when all the underlying claims have been ruled upon by the superior court judge.  In Arizona, there are two intermediate appellate courts—Division One and Division Two. Division One is located in Phoenix and Division Two is located in Tucson. The appeals process is somewhat complicated and is very different than what occurs within the superior court. To demonstrate some of the most notable differences, the appellate court is comprised of a three-judge panel. There are no witnesses called, testimony taken, or evidence presented like in the superior court process. Rather, the appellate court focuses solely on the proceedings (the arguments and evidence presented to the superior court judge) to determine whether the superior court judge made an error in applying the law to the facts of the case. To conduct this analysis, the appellate courts have their own set of rules known as the Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure that guide the entirety of the process. Given the above differences, finding a Family Law Appeals Attorney is highly recommended.  

At Burggraff Tash Levy PLC, we have an experienced appeals team. If you are considering filing an appeal, call Burggraff Tash Levy at 480-307-6800 or use our online form to schedule your consultation.  

What Is a Family Law Appeals Attorney?

A family law appeals attorney is an attorney that focuses on appealing a family court judge’s decision or orders to the court of appeals.  A family law appeals attorney is adept at writing detailed, persuasive briefs for the court of appeals and is competent in the area of oral advocacy before an appellate judge panel.

One may be thinking: what is the difference between an appeals attorney and a regular attorney; an attorney is an attorney, right?  The short answer is no. Just like one would not prefer a plumber to do electrical work in their home, any given client—knowing the difference—would not want a trial attorney that practices criminal law handling their family law appeal.  Even if an attorney practices family law generally, they may not be open to taking on appeals cases. This is because the work is completely different.  Working with the court of appeals requires an attorney to be adept in research and case law analysis, writing appellate briefs, and oral advocacy.  Not to say that these skills are not necessary when practicing before the superior court, but the court of appeals requires specific briefing that is not common to the everyday practice of law. The process is very tedious, time consuming, and generally specific to working with the court of appeals. Because the process of working with the court of appeals is drastically different than that of working with the superior court, along with the fact that many attorneys have other superior court cases to attend to, many law offices do not offer appeals services at all.

At Burggraff Tash Levy PLC, we have an experienced appeals team. If you are considering filing an appeal, call Burggraff Tash Levy at 480-307-6800 or use our online form to schedule your consultation.  

What Are The Grounds for Appeal From The Family Court?

The next question one may have is what are grounds for an appeal?  Phrased another way: can, or should one appeal the family court’s decision, child custody ruling, child support award, or other order entered by the family court? This is difficult question that one should not face alone. Hence, the recommendation to seek out a family law appeals attorney.  Generally, the court of appeals will not reverse (overturn) a family court’s decision unless the superior court judge made an error of law.  An error of law can constitute many things, such as: applying the wrong legal standard to a specific set of facts, missing a step in a statutory analysis, or making a decision that is clearly contrary to the evidence.  It should be noted that it is difficult to be successful on appeal.  In fact, only a small fraction of the family law appeals result in the trial court’s judgment or orders being overturned.  As such, deciding to appeal a case is a difficult decision that requires appropriate advice and contemplation.  This is yet another reason why it is recommended to seek out a family law appeals attorney before deciding to appeal a family court’s decision.

At Burggraff Tash Levy PLC, we have an experienced appeals team. If you are considering filing an appeal, call Burggraff Tash Levy at 480-307-6800 or use our online form to schedule your consultation.

What Is The Process For An Appeal?

As noted above, the Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure guide the process of an appeal.  The process starts when a party receives a final judgment from the family court.  After receiving a final judgment, i.e., all claims in a case have been ruled upon by the family court, a party that wishes to appeal (“the appellant”) has 30 days after the entry of the judgment to file a “Notice of Appeal” with the superior court along with all parties to the case.  Importantly, if a notice of appeal is filed late—past the 30 days—it will not be considered by the court of appeals.  A party then must order transcripts of the proceedings (the trial or hearing in which one is appealing from) so that the appellate court will have the ability to review what was said (the testimony/facts) during trial along with how the evidence presented was utilized.  After that, a party must pay a filing fee to the Arizona court of appeals, fill out a form known as a case management statement, and at that time the court of appeals will provide a due date for the opening brief.  After the opening brief has been filed by the appellant, the other party (“the appellee”) will then have forty (40) days after service of the opening brief to file their respective answering brief.  After an answering brief is filed by the appellee, the appellant then has the option of filing a reply brief no later than 20 days after service of the answering brief.  For a great resource regarding the appeals process please see http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/89/PDFs/ENGLISHJAN2017.pdf.

At Burggraff Tash Levy PLC, we have an experienced appeals team. If you are considering filing an appeal, call Burggraff Tash Levy at 480-307-6800 or use our online form to schedule your consultation.

Schedule a Consultation with a Scottsdale Family Law Appeals Lawyer Today

Correct the Mistake

At Burggraff Tash Levy, we know that deciding whether to file an appeal can seem overwhelming. Especially since you likely just finished a long case in the superior court. We are here to answer your questions, discuss your options, help you understand your rights, and, if we represent you in your appeal, our lawyers will guide you through every step of the process as efficiently as possible. 

8980 E. Raintree Dr., Ste. 110
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: 480-307-6800