Sometimes a trial court does not produce a just, fair or equitable result for one or even both parties in a divorce or other family law dispute. In some cases, a party may have a basis for an appeal. When making an appeal, a party will normally hire an appeals lawyer, also referred to as an appellate attorney.
The appellate process may be the best way for people to receive a just ruling. For example, sometimes an issue decided by a trial court may involve relatively new or unique facts that do not fit well within the existing legal framework. In this situation, a trial court may be forced to follow precedent even if the judge would rather not. This normally arises at a time when society or circumstances have changed to such a degree that current case law seems no longer relevant. In other situations, a trial judge may have misapplied the law, or abused his or her discretion in applying the law. An appeals attorney can help you understand whether your case is appropriate for appeal. If you are considering filing an appeal, you should know that there are time limitations for filing. Once the time limit expires, you may be barred from filing an appeal.
The State of Washington has two levels of appeals after a trial court ruling: the Washington State Court of Appeals, and the Washington State Supreme Court. All parties after a trial court are entitled to appeal to the Court of Appeals. However, an appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court is solely at the discretion of that court and depends upon the significance of a legal issue under Washington law.
The Washington State Court of Appeals has three divisions. Division One is located in downtown Seattle. Division Two is located in Tacoma. Division Three is located in Spokane.
If you have received an adverse judgment from a trial court in a Washington State family law matter, you may benefit from consulting with a competent appeals attorney.