SIRLIN LAW FAMILY LAW APPEALS IN ARIZONA: WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO FILING AN APPEAL

Posted on by Randi

So many parents and spouses come to the firm and complain that they weren’t/aren’t happy with the judge’s decision and/or their attorney because they didn’t get what was fair in the divorce and/or they didn’t get what they wanted regarding the children.

When asked what their lawyer told them about that, they often say that the lawyer said there is nothing that can be done or that, in the case of child custody (legal decision-making authority) and parenting time that they will have to wait a year to go back to court to try again.

One person said their attorney told them “no one appeals.” Another person said, “no one wins.” Those statements are false.

Many family law cases should be appealed. Before filing for an appeal, though, there needs to be a determination as to whether there has been a final order. While the Minute Entry (written orders of the court) may state that it is a formal, final, and appealable Order of the Court pursuant to Rule 81, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, that doesn’t mean you should go straight to the Court of Appeals. In fact, it is important to exhaust ALL vehicles for change, at the trial court level, prior to filing a Notice of Appeal, which must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after a final order.

There are post-decree and post-ruling motions that may need to be filed. There are certain time constraints you must abide by.

No later than fifteen (15) days after entry of the Order or Decree (which is the date stamped by the Clerk of Court, on the top, right-hand corner of the Order), you may file a Rule 83 Motion for New Trial or Amended Judgment. A Rule 84 Motion for Reconsideration or Clarification needs to file filed within thirty (30) days for most reasons. A Rule 85 Motion to Correct Mistakes, Relief for a Judgment or Order, may be filed “within a reasonable time,” but for a number of the reasons to file under the rule, you must file within six (6) months of the Order.

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