The success of a Wisconsin family court appeal depends on the evidence submitted at the trial. An appeal is not a “do-over.” There is no new testimony or evidence. The only information available to the appeals court is what was submitted at the trial. The evidence and testimony is known as the “record.” Each party files a brief, based on the record. The appeals court then issues a binding decision.
The possibility for a Wisconsin family court appeal always exists. Even if you succeed at trial, the other party may appeal. Therefore, all necessary information and arguments must be submitted at trial. Doing so requires careful planning. Arguments, like evidence, are waived if they are not introduced at the trial. Although trial planning should be the main focus, the possibility of any appeal must be considered to ensure all arguments are preserved.
Most trial court decisions are upheld by the appeals court. The trial judge has discretion to make a decision, and the appeals court usually accepts that decision. If the judge made a legal mistake, however, the Court of Appeals will take a more careful review. It is important to clearly inform the Court of Appeals whether the appeal is based on an error of law or of discretion.
A decision from the Court of Appeals may take up to a year in a Wisconsin family court appeal. Due to the amount of legal research required, you should consult with an attorney prior to filing the appeal to determine the cost vs. chance of success. The filing deadline can also be as short as 45 days after the judge’s decision. If you are considering a Wisconsin family court appeal, you must consult an attorney immediately. I have years of experience in all areas of family law and would be happy to consult with you on a Wisconsin family court appeal.