Is There Anything You Can Do If the Judge Got It Wrong?

Family Court Appeals

August 2018

By Max N. Hanson, Esq.

Although the vast majority of divorces or family law cases are resolved or settled before trial, some cases still end up going to trial.

In 2017, Maricopa County reported 48,415 pending or filed divorce/family law cases and only 2,476 of these cases went to trial –just over 5%, a relatively small percentage.

But with only 26 family court judges that works out to each judge handling approximately 1,862 cases and presiding over 95 trials a year (or almost 2 trials a week), in addition to the myriad of status conferences, temporary orders hearings, management conferences and other proceedings that occur on a daily basis for all of the almost 50,000 cases before the family court.

The sheer numbers when viewed in that context are fairly staggering and the case load, according to the court’s own statistics, only continues to grow.

To deal with the large number of cases and to keep the line “moving”, the family court in Maricopa County has long imposed significant time constraints on all proceedings, including trials.

Typically, in a case involving property and children, parties will receive one-half court day, or three (3) hours, or less to try their case with each side only getting half of that time to present their side of things concerning their children, the allocation of community assets and debts, and support.

As you can imagine, with the sheer amount of cases and the limited time to hear them, sometimes the judge can simply get it wrong.

When it involves our children, our retirement savings, or the division of a business or professional practice, or even the amount that we pay or receive in spousal maintenance and child support, an error by the Court can have significant and dire consequences.

If you have gone all the way to trial and think that the judge got it “wrong”, there is still an avenue in which to try to right the wrong and fix things – appealing the court’s decision.

In our four (4) part blog series this month, we will go through some of the basics of the appeal process for a family court case, including whether or not you can appeal, how and when to file an appeal, the procedure and timeline for filing the appeal, and what happens once the appellate court rules. Look on our website this month each Friday for a new blog in this series.

If you or a loved one have gone through a divorce or family law trial and are contemplating a possible appeal of the Court’s ruling, call us at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with one of our experienced family law appellate attorneys. We can help.

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